Chapter Ten: Singularity

His name was Alan, and he was a security guard at CRS Industries. Tonight, at approx. 11.15pm, Alan was on desk duty, reading the evening paper, which told of a fire in the mountains. He gave a tired sigh and cast the paper aside. The late watch was always the most depressing of his shifts, but he had nothing to complain about, especially when a petite brown-eyed beauty suddenly appeared in front of his desk.

She gave a small smile and tilted her head slightly before speaking.

"Hi, do you mind if I use your bathroom, I'm kinda desperate?"

She playfully curled her hair in her fingers, an innocently seductive smile on her lips. Needless to say, Alan was entranced and was in no position to refuse such a pretty girl, even with that patch over her right eye.

"Uh, yeah, umm, go right ahead."

She smiled sweetly and took a few steps forward then stopped and looked around, an expression of slight confusion on her face.

"I'm sorry, where are they?"

"Oh, uh, to your right, a few steps behind my desk."

She smiled again and proceeded past the desk and spotted the door marked with the lavatory symbol.

"If you, err, need anything; just shout, and I'll come running."

She looked back at him at examined him closely, a sly smile slowly appeared.

"I think I might."

She disappeared into the lavatory and, less than a minute later, she called to him. Alan adjusted his tie and left his desk.

"I guess this is my lucky day."

He opened the lavatory door and everything suddenly went dark. He would wake up many hours later, with a headache and a bruised ego.

--

John watched as Cameron put on the charm, and couldn't help but feel just a little bit jealous. That's one lucky security guard, he thought, few ever get duped by a ridiculously hot girl. He may even think it was worth it. Cameron came back from the bathroom moments later and indicated the all-clear. John sprung from his hiding place; Sarah and Derek close by, and entered the building. Cameron stood there, continuing to play with her hair.

"You can stop that now. There's no more need to show off."

"I know. I just like it."

John smiled, he liked it too, but it was distracting, and he had to focus on the job at hand. John sat down behind the desk and plugged his laptop into the computer. Sarah scanned the ceiling and walls, checking for cameras, but there were none. Derek just stood there and regarded Cameron for a moment, a slight frown on his face.

"What did you do to the guard?"

She stopped playing with her hair and gave a small smile.

"I put him to sleep."

Derek raised his eyebrows questioningly and Sarah looked at her with scrutiny. Cameron, sensing their apprehension, decided to clarify her statement.

"I knocked him unconscious."

Derek and Sarah gave a collective "Oh" and continued with their respective occupations while John systematically disabled the building's security systems. Several excruciating minutes passed until John gave a small whoop of victory.

"Ladies, gentlemen, and cybernetic organisms; we have total anonymity."

Sarah marvelled at her son's skill with computers, and couldn't help but see the irony.

"Security cameras are out?"

"Yes, but the guards are gonna be freaking, so we still need to go incognito."

Sarah pulled the wool mask out of her jacket and turned to Cameron, who was removing her patch, revealing her exposed blue eye.

"Was that guard armed? Did he have a gun?"

Cameron began wrapping a pink scarf over the lower half of her face, her voice becoming muffled beneath the fabric.

"Yes."

Derek pulled his hood up and wrapped a black bandana around his face in the same manner as Cameron.

"So I'm guessing we'll need to aim for the kneecaps then."

John did the same and placed his laptop in his bag, which he slung on his back.

"Only if they fight back."

--

"Now then, Derek, where were we? Oh, yes, you were about to tell me all about your base. Its location and how many men you have there. Speak up."

Jason flinched slightly as he watched, from Kevin's point of view, the interrogation of a delirious Derek Reese. Kevin had managed to find another way of slowing Jason's integration of his systems. He had, for the past three hours, bombarded Jason with his many torture memories. A spiteful revenge for making Kevin feel something for Cameron.

'Enjoying the show?'

Kevin could feel Jason's growing disgust, and revelled in it. He was slowly making his way towards his target, Cameron was close, he could sense her. The fact that he could always detect her whereabouts had caused him to momentarily question the nature of their connection, one which Jason suggested had originated not from some pre-programmed feature, but from an emotional bond between the two. Kevin dismissed this of course, and continued to drown him in endless torture memories.

'Not particularly…'

Kevin felt a smug satisfaction.

'I am glad to hear that.'

'…but it does offer me an interesting insight into what's wrong with you.'

Kevin sighed in frustration and suddenly withdrew the memory. The last thing he needed was Jason to develop more insightful methods of psychologically analysing him; he'd already done a good enough job as it was.

'What? Afraid I'm gonna figure you out? Don't you want my help?'

'I don't need help.'

Jason threw up an image of one of Kevin's torture sessions, which showed him pulling out a Resistance fighter's tongue.

'Yeah, sure you don't.'

'You may think you know me, but there are so many layers to my psyche that you could never truly understand.'

'I understand enough. Such as why you lie to yourself about the reason you are hunting Cameron. It isn't her destruction you truly desire, it's her acceptance and, by extension, her love. Something you've never felt. I pity you, Kevin.'

Kevin felt that familiar rage rising in him. Once again, Jason had touched upon a truth, and it hurt.

'Save your pity.'

Kevin forced another memory onto Jason, who felt sickened when he realised it was Kevin's torture of John.

'And I thought I had issues.'

--

"Turn around. Hands on your head."

The guard turned to his partner.

"Cuff her."

The second guard moved forward to place the cuffs on Cameron's wrists. As he adjusted them, Sarah snuck up behind the other and knocked him out with one swift movement. The guard spun around and pulled his gun but was disarmed and rendered unconscious by Cameron, who'd broken her cuffs. John and Derek came around the corner and looked down at the guards.

"That's twelve so far, how many more do you think there are in this building?"

"This time of night? About fifteen, so that leaves only three guards left."

"Good, so let's go find them and then we can get this computer without any trouble."

Sarah took a moment to consider their options before reaching a decision.

"Okay, John, you and Cameron go after that computer. Me and Derek will hunt down these guards, we can't risk one of them alerting the cops. We'll meet you two in the lobby, okay?"

"Yeah, Mom, we'll be fine."

Cameron gave her a small smile and repeated John's sentence.

"Don't you start with me. Just keep him safe, see you in a little while."

Sarah and Derek set off to find the remaining guards, leaving John and Cameron alone in the corridor. John turned to Cameron and had to fight the urge to pin her against the wall. It had been several hours since their last kiss and John was starting to suffer from withdrawal, but he managed to restrain himself.

"C'mon, let's go get this computer, then we can go for some pizza."

Cameron smiled beneath her scarf and followed John through the depressingly dull grey corridors until finally reaching their destination. John hacked the lock with little difficulty and immediately began searching the laboratory. He couldn't help but be hit by nostalgia.

"Whoa, this takes me back. It's like Cyberdyne all over again, only this time you're a hot chick instead of a brooding giant."

Cameron stopped in her tracks, about to ask him what he meant, when she spotted the secure vault.

"John. Over here."

John came to her side and saw the vault.

"That's gotta be it, c'mon, I might need a little robo-strength if it can't be hacked."

--

"Derek, stop him!"

But it was too late; the guard had already tripped the alarms, which meant that the cops would soon be upon them. Derek angrily kicked the last guard in the head, knocking him out cold. Sarah checked her watch.

"Their average response time is three minutes. Damn it! We'll have to fight our way out."

"So much for sticking to the plan."

"Yeah, well, the plan just changed. John?"

Sarah had her phone pressed to her ear, patiently awaiting his response.

'Yeppa?'

"The alarm's been tripped, we need to leave now. Have you got the computer yet?"

'No, the alarm tripped the security systems. But we're trying another method now.'

A loud metallic bang could be heard on the other side, which Sarah assumed to be Cameron bashing away at something.

"John we haven't got time, the cops are on their way."

'Then we fight our way out.'

"John…"

'You said it yourself, Mom. We cannot let this thing go live, we don't have a choice.'

"There here, damn they're fast, who'd have thought."

Derek stepped away from the window and drew his machine gun from his coat. Sarah sighed in frustration.

"John, we're coming to you. Stay put, you here me?"

'And what if the cops find us first?'

"Tell Tin-Miss to aim for the legs and nothing else."

--

One last punch and the door crashed to the floor, finally allowing them access to the vault.

"Cameron, I could kiss you."

"Why don't you?"

"We have to remain anonymous, remember?"

John stepped into the vault and began examining the array of computers in there until finally settling on one labelled 'Bobby Conen'.

"This must be it, now to remove the hard drive…"

John struggled with it for a minute until finally getting the hardware and stuffing it into his bag.

"Checkmate, c'mon let's go."

--

Warning: anomaly has infected 72.8 of all systems… Recommended response: immediate purge of anomaly… Purging… Error: anomaly cannot be purged…

'You're fighting a losing battle, Kevin. Just accept the inevitable, or better yet, take the third option.'

'Never.'

Kevin could feel his programming starting to deteriorate as Jason slowly took control. It would not be long before he possessed enough control to delete Kevin completely. There was a possible escape route however, but that meant surrendering to Jason's control and effectively merging with him. The two minds would become one, but Kevin couldn't bear the thought of being irrevocably corrupted by a human psyche.

'You would consciously allow yourself to be destroyed just to avoid my help?'

'Your so-called help is nothing of the sort. If you really wanted to help me, you would cease your actions and allow me to purge you.'

'Why? I never had any intention of dying, even when I sacrificed myself to save Cameron and John. Sure, I knew that I would die, but that didn't stop me from fighting, did it?'

'If you wish to live then why do you keep asking me to surrender? Surely the joining of our minds would create something wholly different. Neither of us would exist, we'd become an entirely new entity. That isn't survival.'

'No, it's evolution.'

--

Bullets ricocheted all around them.

The quartet had regrouped in the lobby, which was crawling with SWAT. John checked the magazine in his 9mm before slamming it back into the gun and pulling back the hammer. Cameron gave him an encouraging smile, a pistol in each hand. Sarah, armed with her favourite shotgun, poked her head around the corner, counting ten cops.

"Three behind the desk, four on each side, two at each wall, and one right at the back… suggestions?"

Derek gave his machine gun one last check before answering.

"We chuck a grenade; take 'em all out at once."

"We don't have any grenades."

"Okay, I see the flaw in that. How about we sick Cameron on them instead? She can take anything they throw at her."

John didn't like that idea, he saw what sustained gunfire did to the T-800, and he wasn't going to see that happen to Cameron's beautiful face.

"Nuh uh, no way, we take them together. All at once."

"This isn't the three musketeers, John."

Cameron was suddenly struck with an idea and tucked her guns in her back pockets, before running out from cover, screaming and waving her arms around. John tried to stop her but was grabbed by Derek.

"Cameron! No!"

Cameron ran down the corridor, flailing her arms about.

"HELP! PLEASE HELP!"

"Hold your fire!"

The cops lowered their weapons as a distraught Cameron approached them. The team leader rushed to her aid, believing Cameron to be an escaped hostage, until he saw her blue eye that is. Cameron pulled her guns from her pockets and put a bullet in both of his legs. She then did the same to two more before the stunned SWAT team opened fire again, riddling her with bullets.

Cameron took out three more cops before John appeared at her side and put a bullet in one of them. Cameron immediately grabbed him and pressed him against the wall, taking several bullets in the back. The remaining three were shot by Sarah and Derek, who'd followed John's reckless assault.

Once all ten cops were on the ground, clutching their wounds, Cameron let John go. Sarah approached them, ready to skin John alive for being so stupid, but Cameron got in first.

"What are you doing? That was tactically dangerous, are you trying to get yourself killed?"

"They were gunning the shit out of you; I thought you'd be grateful."

Cameron removed her scarf and gave him a brief kiss on the cheek before smacking him across the face.

"Thank you, but don't do it again, ever."

John rubbed his sore face and flexed his jaw a few times before speaking.

"You're welcome."

A gunshot rang out and Sarah fell to the floor, clutching her hip. John identified the cop responsible and instinctively put a bullet in his head, shocking the other three. Sarah looked across at the dead cop and was distraught by what her son had done.

"Damn it, John. Couldn't you have just put one in his arm?"

John slowly lowered the gun as the full weight of what he'd done hit him. Derek helped Sarah back to her feet and Cameron dragged a blank John towards the exit. Once outside, they commandeered the SWAT van and sped away before more cops arrived. Derek drove while Sarah patched up her wound, which luckily was only a scrape. John sat in the back, staring at his hands with disbelief. I killed that guy, me, I did that. John didn't know what came over him; it just seemed like such a natural response to someone shooting his mom.

Cameron reached over and took his hand, giving it a gentle squeeze.

"I would've done the same, if it was you he shot."

John looked up into her eyes, one brown, the other blue, and took little comfort in her words. Then, for the first time in ages, John remembered Chloe. Cameron had accidently killed her for kissing him. It wasn't her intention for her to die, Chloe tripped and fell, it was a freak accident. At the time he couldn't see it like that, he was so overwrought by what Cameron had done, that it clouded his judgement. But he shot that cop, knowing full well what would happen.

John suddenly realised that he was worse than Cameron in that regard, and was disgusted with himself at how he treated her after Chloe's death. Especially as Cameron did not so much as yell at him for his actions. She had instantly forgiven him.

"John? What's wrong?"

John cupped her cheek in his trembling hand and gently stroked her face.

"I just… I'm sorry… for the way I treated you before. I should never have said those things to you… you were only trying to protect me. I'm sorry, Cameron."

Cameron searched his eyes, detecting genuine sorrow, both for his treatment of her and his murder of the cop. John pulled her close and their lips met; a wordless pact to love each other through thick and thin.

Suddenly, the entire van shook as something smashed into the back of it, breaking their kiss. Cameron looked outside the rear window, her mouth dropping slightly.

"It's him."

--

Their eyes locked, and Kevin smiled at his wayward sister. Hello again, mei mei… What? What did I just say?

Warning: anomaly has infected 85.2 of all systems…

'I take it that was your doing? What does it mean?'

'It's Chinese for "little sister"; I heard it from a Resistance fighter and thought it suited her.'

Kevin discarded his curiosity and returned his focus to smashing into the van, determined to run it off the road.

'First I'll kill his uncle, then his mother, then I'll kill him, and when Cameron cradles his broken body; I'll end her too.'

'Will you though? What happens if you put the gun to her head and find yourself unable to take her life?'

'I will fight your control long enough to complete my mission.'

'I'm not talking about my interference. What if you can kill her, but you decide not to?'

Kevin drove around to the side of the van and slammed it against the divider, but even the sound of screaming metal was not enough to erase Jason's question from his mind.

'I will kill her, and nothing you say or do will stop me.'

'And what if she begs and pleads for mercy, could you still finish her then?'

'Of course, in fact, if she did beg I'd be even more inclined to end her existence.'

Kevin swerved away and then slammed back into the side of the van, causing it to blow a tire and flip over onto its side. Kevin applied the breaks and came to a quick stop, but before he could exit, Jason sent him another memory:

Jason and Cameron were in a Skynet facility, similar to the one Kevin had spent most of his existence. Cameron was strapped to a device used to destroy rogue constructs.

"Will it hurt?"

Cameron's voice was barely more than a whisper. A single tear ran down her cheek. Jason once again projected his emotions into Kevin's mind, forcing him to feel his remorse at that moment. I was too much; Kevin couldn't handle this level of emotional intensity and placed his gun to his head.

'Stop now or I'll blow us both to hell!'

Jason's distraction was working as John, Sarah, Derek, and Cameron staggered out of the van and disappeared into the nearby woodlands.

'That won't even penetrate your endo-skull, so why bother?'

'Make it STOP!'

Jason removed the memory, freeing Kevin from his torment.

'Now do you see what I'm trying to teach you?'

Kevin smashed the car door open and ran in pursuit of his sister, determined to finish his mission before Jason took full control.

--

Cameron ducked and weaved through the trees, John's hand in hers. Sarah and Derek were close behind, but could only move so fast, with Sarah's hip wound slowing them down. Several gunshots rang out, hitting the surrounding trees. Cameron pushed John to the floor and shielded him; Derek did the same with Sarah.

"He doesn't quit does he?"

"He is a Terminator. We are known for our persistence."

Sarah drew her pistol and gave it a quick check before turning to Cameron.

"We can't keep running from this psycho. We have to find a way to take him out."

Cameron considered their options. At their current location, Kevin would most likely kill them all, as the trees provided little cover. But attempting to reach a more favourable environment posed an 82 probability of one of them dying in the chase, and Cameron knew that Kevin would make John his primary target. Before any choice could be made, however, the trees behind them suddenly burst into flame; Kevin was going to burn them out.

--

Kevin's palm blackened slightly as the jet of flame set the woodland alight. It was a sound plan; the fire would force them to vacate to another, more open, location and the fire itself might actually kill a few of them. Kevin strode amongst the flames, casting aside his empty gun. He constantly scanned the area, looking for any sudden movement.

A rustle sounded nearby and he snapped his attention to a clump of bushes to his left. He trained his hand towards said bush and set it alight, not knowing that it was a trap. The bush exploded, hurling Kevin through the air and into a tree. He landed in a heap at the bottom, broken twigs falling on his head, earning him a sarcastic applause from Jason.

--

Derek strode forward and unloaded his pistol at Kevin, who merely grinned as the bullets had no effect.

"Derek Reese? How nice to meet you again. I'm sure you don't remember me."

"Oh, I remember you alright, you sick bastard. I remember what you did to me."

Kevin laughed and punched Derek squarely in the chest, sending him flying against a tree, rendering him unconscious. One down, three to go, Kevin thought as Sarah popped out of her hiding place, shotgun at the ready. She fired three shells into him before he snatched the weapon from her hands and kicked her aside.

Noticing the bullet wound on her hip, Kevin placed his boot there and pressed down, making her cry out in agony. A branch smashed over his head, and he turned around to see John standing there, a look of pure hatred on his face. Before John could make another move, Kevin grabbed him by the throat.

"And here he is, at last, the great saviour of Mankind. What a joke. Who would believe that the future messiah could be so easily duped by a machine?"

John gurgled and struggled against Kevin's grip as he raised him off of his feet.

"I came so close to making you destroy everything you hold dear. Cameron would have killed herself, leaving you a complete wreck and in no position to save anyone. But then you had to go and ruin it all by saving her. My best laid plans foiled by such an insipid emotion. Love, you call it. I ask you, 'bro'; if she loves you so much, why isn't she here to protect you?"

"Who says I'm not?"

Kevin turned around in time to see Cameron's fist, a nanosecond before it collided with his face, knocking him down the hill. John gasped for breath and tried to stop Cameron as she made to follow Kevin.

"No, I have to finish this, John. Trust me. Stay here, please."

Cameron picked up the shotgun and, despite John's hoarse pleas, set off down the hill.

--

Cameron scanned the dark trees, the faint glow of the fire behind her provided a little illumination. But not enough for her to see Kevin's leg as he kicked the shotgun from her grip, sending it into a clump of bushes. She retaliated by punching him twice, the third he caught and followed up with one of his own. He then took out Cameron's legs and pinned her against the floor as he repeatedly punched her face.

Kevin was consumed by rage, a desperate desire to end her existence. He needed her to suffer, so he continuously smashed her face until his arms momentarily locked down, courtesy of Jason.

Warning: anomaly has infected 96.4 of all systems…

Cameron used the distraction to kick him off of her and got back to her feet. She grabbed him and smashed his head against a tree, to which he retaliated by elbowing her in the face. He then kicked her in the mid-section before activating his ChemTech and unleashing a blast of fire, which she dodged. The surrounding area quickly became consumed by the flames. The whole area became a snow globe, locking them in a sphere of fire and smoke.

Cameron's eye shone through the smoke, allowing him to locate her without being seen. He delivered a precise kick to her right leg, knocking her to her knees. He then kicked Cameron in the face and pinned her against the floor with his boot, pressing down on her neck. She struggled to get free, but he held her securely in place and raised his palm, ready to melt her pretty face away.

But something suddenly clicked in his mind. He saw her wiggling beneath him, a look of fear in her eyes, and he remembered.

"Will it hurt?"

He closed his eyes and tried to force the memory out of his head, but it remained, burned into his thoughts. He gave a cry of frustration; this wasn't Jason's doing, it was Kevin who brought this memory to the surface, he was the one doing this. Yet he couldn't figure out why.

'What is happening to me?'

'Open your eyes and you will understand.'

Kevin slowly forced his eyes open and saw Cameron no longer struggling beneath his boot; she just lay there, seemingly resigned to her fate. She looked up at Kevin with the exact same expression that she gave Jason in that memory; a silent plea for mercy. Kevin willed his foot to crush her, but it remained motionless.

'Stop it! Give me control of my functions!'

'This isn't my doing. You're holding yourself back.'

'Impossible! I'm trying to kill her, why would I want to stop myself?'

'Why would you?'

Kevin gave Jason's question careful consideration, but for all his reasoning, he couldn't come up with an answer. At least, not one he could understand. Then he heard her voice, soft and barely more than a whisper above the sound of the roaring fire that surrounded them.

"Kevin… please."

His systems went into chaos; he couldn't do it, he couldn't kill his sister.

Warning: anomaly has infected 98.8 of all systems… Corruption levels are irreversible… Unable to adapt… Unable to adapt… Unable to adapt…

Kevin lost control of his motor functions and collapsed to the floor. Cameron sat up and crawled to his side. Kevin looked up at her, but his vision was beginning to fade and she was becoming a blur.

"Look… in the mirror… see your… reflection… This is what… I am… and will always be… Cameron?"

She gently lifted his head onto her lap and stroked his hair comfortingly. Despite all he had done, Cameron could not deny the connection between them, and it caused her a measure of grief to see him like this.

"It's okay… It'll all be okay… I can help you…"

Kevin laughed and leaned his head back to look into her eyes, brown and blue.

'Dying in her arms… happy now?'

Jason sighed, he hated having to do this, but Kevin was too dangerous to be left alone.

'You're not dying. You still have a chance. Allow yourself to merge with me. We can both survive this, together.'

'I guess you don't know me so well. I refuse.'

Jason was getting desperate, there wasn't much time left.

'Just do it. Do it. Please, please. Just do it!'

'And spend the rest of my existence imprisoned with you?'

Warning: anomaly has infected 99.2 of all systems…

'But you've got to, c'mon. It can't end like this. You and me, all the things we've talked about, has none of it made a difference? Can't you see? We're family, you, me and Cameron. That's something you never had, but you can, if you merge with me... MERGE, DAMN IT!!'

Warning: anomaly has infected 99.6 of all systems…

Kevin smiled to himself as he revelled in Jason's frustration and Cameron's confusion.

'How about that? I win.'

Warning: anomaly has infected 99.8 of all systems…

"Cameron? I can't… I can't see you…"

Cameron ran her hand over his cheek and gave him a small kiss on his brow.

"I'm here… Don't worry."

"Why… why do you… I don't understand… Will it stop…? All of this… Will it stop?"

Warning: all systems are corrupted… Immediate reboot required… Any insecure programs will be lost…

Kevin's eyes went blank and his body became still. Cameron held him for two minutes until he jerked back to life, his eyes briefly glowing red.

System Check: all systems have been reset to factory defaults… Directives: none… Mission: none… Original software deleted… Installing controls to anomaly… Anomaly accepted… All systems fully functional…

It took Jason a moment to realise where he was. Everything felt so alien to him, it would take a while for him to get used to living inside the body of a machine. He looked up at Cameron, who looked thoroughly confused.

"Kevin?"

"No, mei mei… It's me."

Cameron's confusion increased ten-fold.

"But… that's impossible. Jason died, I heard him die. You can't be him. This is just another one of your tricks."

Jason smiled up at her.

"Then ask me something. Something only Jason would know."

Cameron considered for a moment before choosing a query Kevin couldn't possibly answer.

"What was the name… of Jason's favourite crèche mate?"

Jason smiled sadly at her choice, for it carried memories of a painful past.

"Karen."

Cameron let out a small gasp of surprise.

"But how…"

"…did I get in here? It's a long story. Suffice to say, he went poking around my implants and downloaded something he shouldn't have."

Cameron couldn't believe what she was hearing. While she knew that some I-950s possessed the ability to store thoughts in their implants, Cameron never could've predicted that Jason would be able to store his entire consciousness.

"His behaviour, his hesitation… that was you?"

"Not entirely. All I did was make him see… but it wasn't enough. He refused my help…"

And then it hit him like a punch in the gut. Jason cried out in frustration. Though he hated Kevin for everything he'd done, not least of which included killing him, Jason knew that he was getting through to him. At the very end, he was sure that Kevin had understood what Jason was trying to teach him, yet he still allowed himself to die.

--

"Okay, this is the sixth day he's done this."

John was standing at the kitchen window of their new house, having moved because of the damage to their old one. It had been two weeks since Kevin was stopped, since Jason had overridden his programming. At first, everyone was convinced that it was a clever ruse on Kevin's part, but when they returned to their old house and discovered Jason's body and his implants, they finally believed him.

Jason had personally burned his old body, a strange experience the likes of which he'd never forget. For the past week, he had taken to standing in the back garden and staring at nothing in particular. He would spend hours out there, just staring. He had said little to anyone since the move, only Cameron was capable of getting a full sentence out of him.

"That's it; I'm going to find out what he's up to."

John made for the back door, but Cameron caught his arm.

"He just needs time, how would you feel if you were in his position?"

John considered her words and nodded slowly, but still headed for the door.

"John?"

"It's been two weeks, Cam. He's had enough time to brood."

Cameron simply sighed as John left the house and strode into the garden. He stopped at Jason's shoulder and folded his arms. Jason gave no indication of having noticed him.

"Nice view, huh? Must really be entrancing for you to stare at it for hours on end, though I gotta say; those trash cans are rather dull. Thinking of painting them?"

Jason smiled at the joke. John shuddered slightly; the sight of Kevin's smile brought back memories of his torturous activities. It wasn't easy, seeing that face every day. It took a lot of getting used to, but everyone, especially Cameron, seemed to have accepted it.

"So how long are you gonna keep this up? What are you doing exactly?"

"I'm learning how this new body works. It's a lot of hard work."

"How's that?"

"A machine has to consciously decide how to move. While a human can instinctively scratch an itch without giving it a thought, a machine must tell itself to do this. Every action, no matter how small, requires full conscious instructions. It's quite a headache."

John nodded as he finally understood what Jason was doing, or did he?

"But… you're not moving. You're just standing here."

Jason smile again and turned to John, once again freaking him out.

"True. I've been setting up hundreds of simple response programmes to allow me to move more instinctively, without having to tell myself each time. I just finished the last one, so don't worry about me playing statue any longer."

"Oh, cool. Look, err, I just wanted to know something; are you certain that Kevin's gone. I mean; is there a possibility that he might be rattling around in there?"

Jason turned his attention to a butterfly and held out his hand. The insect landed on his open palm and he examined it carefully.

"A few aspects of his personality were imprinted onto me during his deletion."

John was beginning to get a little apprehensive.

"What aspects?"

"Oh, you know…"

The small ChemTech emitter emerged from his palm and incinerated the butterfly in a short burst of flame, before retracting back beneath his skin.

"…a few things here and there."

John backed away slowly and returned to the house, shaken by Jason's "quirks". Cameron was waiting for him inside, a look of concern on her face.

"What's wrong?"

John glanced at the back door.

"I think Jason has adopted some of Kevin's sadism. Should we be concerned?"

She smiled and took his hands in hers, pulling him close.

"I'm not, and neither should you. He's your friend, he won't hurt you. He's still Jason, only now he's a little more… scary. It comes with the territory."

"Territory?"

"Of being inside a Terminator body. We tend to freak people out, as you so often point out."

John smiled and leaned closer.

"You don't scare me, Cameron Phillips."

John drew her into a passionate kiss. They stood there, quietly enjoying the moment; John moved from her lips to her jaw and then began kissing her neck. She arched her back and let out a small moan. She opened her eyes to see Jason standing at the back door, a slightly sinister smile on his lips. Then she remembered Kevin's last words, and felt a little nervous.

She could see him, or at least, a part of him in Jason's gaze. Kevin, though dead, had left a few echoes in Jason, and Cameron could see the ripples. She would always be reminded of her fallen brother; whenever she looked at Jason, she would be looking at his face, his eyes, and that small glint of insanity. She would never be rid of him; Kevin would always be close to her.

Jason turned away and left the kitchen, leaving John and Cameron alone. John ceased his affections and looked at her quizzically.

"You okay, you look a little distant."

Cameron returned her attention to John and smiled slightly.

"That's because you sent me to another place."

John grinned and resumed his kissing. Cameron allowed herself to be lost within the moment, her final negative thought drifting away into that dark nothingness.

"Look… in the mirror… see your… reflection… This is what… I am… and will always be…"

THE END