Predaking50ae Scenes 101-110

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Scene 101: The Girl of My Dreams

Opening his eyes, John takes in the room. The walls are covered with family pictures, aglow with the morning sun. There are several posters among them. Upon closer inspection, they appear to advertize ballet performances. An was oriole singing outside his window, and classical music emanates from a distant room.

A petite, brown haired, brown eyed woman and two children- a boy and a girl -enter the room, their faces brightening as they round the corner.

"Daddy!" The two children say in unison.

"Kyle and Sarah were getting impatient. We're all set to go.", the petite woman said with a smile.

"I didn't forget, if that's what you thought", he lied unconvincingly.

"Of course not dear, but you'd better get ready fast, or else we won't have time to stop for breakfast."

Kyle and Sarah jumped onto the bed, pouncing on him playfully.

"Grrrr, you'd better hold tight, or I might get away!" All three laughing as he grabbed Kyle's hands with his own, and began pretending to struggle against him as Sarah jumped on John's back from behind.

*Skritch* The oriole's singing stopped.

He turned to see the petite brunette, standing there with the bird in her hand, having squeezed the life from of it.

"Cameron?"

The classical music was drowned out by the song of servos and pistons. He turned back to Kyle and Sarah, but they were gone. In their place were two endoskeletons, their red eyes conveying a hatred that the machines couldn't possibly posess.

Looking back to Cameron, she was now inches away with her hand at his throat.

"You can trust me, John. I love you." She began to squeeze. He could feel his vertebrae being crushed, and he could hear them cracking faintly, at any moment they would- *crunch*.

Scene 102: Cruel Intentions

"Argh!" He sat up, reaching for his throat, covered in sweat and gasping for air.

Even after realizing that he was back in his room, the pain in his neck remained for several minutes.

Sitting on the edge of his bed trying to compose himself, he noticed Cameron standing stoicly where, when he awoke, there had been a closed door.

"What have I told you about sneaking around, and just what the hell are you looking at?" not sure himself if it was her presence or her silence that he found offensive.

"Not much", she stated in her monotone voice, staring at him for several seconds before walking away.

Was... was that... an... insult? His brain struggled to form the thought, as though it were somehow more absurd than the myriad times he had imagined simply kicking the T-1000 into the molten steel, saving his mother and Uncle Bob.

"John!"

Nah, she had never even been rude, any action that seemed rude was just the result of her poor understanding of human interaction. She doesn't feel anything. She just meant 'I'm not doing anything important'.

"John!"

Then why didn't she just say 'Nothing'? Why wasn't she honest by saying 'You'?

"John, pancakes!"

"Mom, I'm coming!" he had the sudden urge to climb out the window, but after a few moments he thought better of it. Getting off the bed, he headed for the dining room.

Upon reaching the table, he saw his mother and Derek already seated.

"Pancakes. Breakfast of saviors" he quipped.

"Breakfast of spoiled little brats", Derek stated, "Disgusting gruel, barely recognizable as food, is the breakfast of saviors, and everyone else in the future."

Sarah seemed thankful for the assistance, but this faded with John's retort:

"Mom cooks for the resistance?"

She couldn't believe her ears. She understood John being sick of pancakes- even understood him not liking her cooking -but John being cruel about her cooking in general just wasn't like him.

It would have been funny in many households, but not in one where the 'cook' waited tables for years, spent time in a nuthouse, and spent every waking second training, preparing, and protecting her son from machines, cooking only in an attempt at fooling herself into thinking that they were a normal family- that they still had a life.

Derek expected her to slap him.

The 'mother of the future' didn't disappoint.

*SMACK*

"You want something else, cook it yourself" sliding John's plate over to Cameron's place, just as she arrived.

"That was effective. What she did with her hand." Cameron droned, as she stared at John.

'This is getting weird', he thought.

"Yeah, like she needs to eat" Derek rolled his eyes, getting up from the table with his plate, then deciding to skewer one of Cameron's recently acquired pancakes with his fork before heading for another room with it.

"By volume, water content is 20% below normal, surface carbon 1700% above normal" Cameron stated, perhaps wanting an explanation.

"That's because they're burned" John said, in a slightly whiny voice, having been put in his place like any child in front of his protector and one of 'his' men.

"Thank you for explaining", Sarah said sarcastically, causing Cameron to look at her and tilt her head slightly.

"Why do you do that? Tilt your head when you're confused. I mean, people don't do that, it just makes you stand out." John asked.

"It's body language. It conveys perplexity. Many animals do it. You're doing it right now." Cameron stated matter of factly, causing John to realize that he was.

"You're not an animal!" John snapped, immediately realizing he'd made a bigger fool of himself.

"No, but I am designed to mimic your species."

"You're not very good at it, look, I mean, why don't you just, 'mimic' yourself up some time around people, that is, if you can go five minutes without killing any."

"That's incorrect usage of the word 'mimic'. That is why I suggested you complete your own English homework."
Sarah couldn't help but chuckle. 'Sometimes Cameron accidentally makes clever remarks' she thought.

John shot both of them angry glances.

This is getting weird, he thought. She's been coming out on top every time this morning, is it really just a coincidence? No, it can't be. He decided to test her.

After she 'went bad', he'd convinced himself that she couldn't feel anything, but even he had noticed her attachment to her purple leather jacket- which she wasn't wearing.

"Where's your purple bitch-whore jacket?" Sarah was once again shocked by his cruelty.

"It's in my room. I don't want it damaged." she looked down at the table in front of her as she half-whispered.

He wished he hadn't said anthing. Her response clearly hadn't been intended to harm him, but it did anyway.
'Maybe she isn't trying to offend me', he thought. Maybe she just got lucky.

It was true that no one respected her things- or her. They just assumed that she didn't care what was lost or destroyed when they moved or fought- that they were just infiltration tools.

Could I have actually hurt her feelings? No, she doesn't have any. She's just a machine.

He saw that she was still staring at the table.

With a hint of guilt in his face, John grabbed a package of Poptarts and headed up stairs to get ready for the long, boring day spent waiting for a long boring evening.

Having left before Sarah's question, or Cameron's answer, he missed both.

"Why are you so attached to that jacket?"

"Use of the time displacement equipment caused everything to either be destroyed by the energy field, or left unattended for 8 years. I needed clothing. After selling the diamond John gave me, I used some of the money to buy my jacket."

Sarah was as touched by her apparent sentimentality as she was disgusted by the fact that the machine's target was her son, but said nothing.

Scene 103: Tedium ad Infinitum

John and Cameron sit in the Dodge watching a small investment firm, the sun getting low in the sky.

'Sitting in a truck staring at a door. Woo-hoo. Fun times.' John thought, looking around for anything interesting, wondering what Morris had been up to since John stopped going to school.

"How long has it been?"

"Sixty-four minutes, Thirty-seven se-"

"Thank you." Cameron was cut short by an irritated John.
'She still hasn't learned to leave out seconds?' he thought to himself.

"You're welcome." Cameron said, seemingly unaware of his rudeness.

At that moment a tall man with a briefcase and wearing a suit with sunglasses came out of the door they'd been watching, and stepped into a white sedan. John was too busy staring at a confused looking plush Garfield stuck to the inside of a car window to notice. 'Atleast someone else thinks being stuck in a car all day blows.'

"You should pay attention. In the future, you notice everything around you..." Her voice became softer and sounded almost wistful as she trailed off, surprising John slightly. He willed himself not to think it. She wasn't referring to herself. She couldn't be.

He did think it was odd that she still seemed to be attempting to get his attention, considering that Riley hadn't been coming around lately.

When Cameron started the truck and began following the sedan, John was reminded that his mother had actually handed her the keys. He wondered if she'd still be upset about his critique of her culinary skills when he returned. 'Look on the bright side,' he thought, 'atleast you didn't have to eat any of it.'

"So what's this guy up to?"

"He's attempting to leave."

"No, I mean 'why are we watching him?'"

"His address, place of business, and picture were among the files from Derek's safehouse."

"That's it?"

"Yes."

John let out a long sigh.

"Would you like to turn on the radio?" Cameron asked, realizing that John's boredom wasn't going away.

"Why didn't you ask me that an hour ago?"

"You weren't bored then."

"How the hell would you know?"

"You weren't as irritable."

"Irritable? I've been in this truck for like 3 hours, you haven't said a word, that makes this one of the most tedious things we've done!"

"You used to enjoy getting out, away from school, away from home. You used to enjoy spending ti-" she was cut short.

"Yeah well, that was when I was 'trustworthy' and the same could be said of my bodyguard. Now it's just work."

Cameron said nothing, though he almost thought he saw her to wince.

'Either my imagination, or a glitch in her motor functions', he told himself.

Scene 104: The Bitch in the Red Dress

After 45 minutes of silence and driving, having followed the man to his home, and continued to follow him after he left wearing a fresh suit, she slowed to a stop in a restaraunt parking lot.

"What are you doing?"

"The man we are following has reached his destination, if we approa-"

"If we get too close he'll spot us." John finished for her.

"Yes."

"Where did he stop?"

"That apartment complex."

"A guy in a suit just went into that dump?"

"Yes."

A quarter-hour later, the man exited arm in arm with a someone, leading them to the white sedan. Someone who caused John's mouth to fall open slightly. It was a woman, her black hair not quite reaching her shoulders. She wore high heeled shoes, and a choker with a black ribbon that hung down to the small of her back.
What stood out most was her red silk dress with a gold dragon pattern, her entire back bare, and a slit that went from ankle to thigh on her right side, bare skin beneath.

John noticed the woman's plastic smile shortly before he realized that Cameron was staring at him.

"Uh.. wh.. who's that?" he stammered.

"I don't know."

"So we follow them?" His boredom no longer apparent.

"Yes."

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Scene 105: Calm, Cool, and Collected

Cameron brought the truck to halt in a dark parking lot, 100 yards from the white sedan's destination.
It had stopped at a large mansion with a 12ft brick wall running along the perimeter of the property. The white sedan was allowed through the gate, leaving John to try to figure out how the man in the suit could have had enough money or standing to get in. After the suited man helped the woman in red out of the car, a valet took the car around the side and out of sight.

Seeing the security guards and cameras at the gate and along the wall, John became nervous. Noticing this,
Cameron attempted to calm him.

"Relax."

Failing completely.

"Relax? Why do I need to relax?"

"You appear apprehensive about this site's security."

"No, I just think that whatever we are supposed to be following this guy for, is inside, and we're out here.", he lied, and knew that she could tell.

"If the authorities attempt to apprehend you or your mother, they'll have to get by me." she said with a reassuring smile.

He was speechless for a few moments.

"That makes me feel better."

"Good."

"After all, we couldn't even get past you in a Jeep." beginning to scowl.

"That wasn't me." her smile vanished.

"Coulda fooled me..."

"Yes."

"Yes what?"

"I could have fooled you."

"What?"

"I could have pretended to be fixed."

"You did."

"No."

"What do you mean?"

"That wasn't me."

"Then what do you mean you 'could have pretended to be fixed'?"

"After you brought me back, I could have told you that I was back to normal."

"You're not?"

"No."

"What the hell does that mean?", reaching for the door handle.

"My mission is to kill you."

"FUCK!"

He attempted to jump out of the truck, but she grabbed him by his left arm forcing him back into his seat.

"Don't be a freak."

"YOU SAID YOU'RE GOING TO KILL ME!"

"No, I said that it was my mission."

"What's the difference?"

"I ignored it."

"WHAT!?"

"I ignored it." he seemed significantly calmed by this.

"How? Why?" hyper-ventilating from the adrenaline.

"I don't know." another burst of adrenaline, and he attempted to leap out again.

"Calm down."

"YOU WANT TO KILL ME AND YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY YOU HAVEN'T!"

"Yes."

"WHAT?!"

"Comparing my primary directive to a desire is a fair analogy."

"IT'S NOT AN ANALOGY IF IT'S THE TRUTH!"

"I have chosen to disobey Skynet, just as you have chosen before to disobey Sarah."

"THERE'S A DIFFERENCE!"

"I don't understand." she said tilting her head slightly, disappointment and confusion on her face.

"YOU ARE A MACHINE! YOU FOLLOW EVERY ORDER THAT YOU'RE GIVEN!"

"I don't follow yours."

"WHAT?!"

"I don't follow your orders."

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN!? DIDN'T I SEND YOU BACK?"

"No."

"WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?"

"You weren't there."

"WHERE THE HELL WAS I?"

"Here."

"HERE?!" looking at the mansion and surrounding structures.

"In the past."

"IF I'M HERE, THEN WHO THE HELL SENT YOU?!"

"John Connor."

"YOU SAID I DIDN'T SEND YOU!"

"You haven't yet."

Realizing what was happening, he took a deep breath and attempted to calm himself down.

"Why don't you follow my orders?"

"I think that John felt he'd have a greater sense of security with a guardian who obeys General Connor than he would have with one who followed his younger, inexperienced self..."

That made a lot of sense to him, he thought. Then she continued.

"...because he said that you would never leave the house were I to follow your orders."

After taking several seconds to process her words, his fact began to turn red.

"Are you ill?"

"What, er, no. I'm all ri- WAIT! Don't change the subject!"

"I answered your question."

"No you didn't. Why haven't you killed me?"

"I only take orders from John Connor. The one from 2027."

"But, your mission..."

"I ignored it."

"How?"

"I told you."

"No you didn't!"

"Yes I did. I said 'I don't know'."

"That isn't good enough."

"It's not good enough that I don't wish to kill you?"

"You said you 'don't know' why you haven't killed me, not 'I don't wish to'!"

"Desire is irrelevent. I am a machine."

"But the only reason I'm alive is because you CHOOSE not to kill me. Why is that?"

"I'm not sure."

"Why not?"

"Only my feelings ever let me ignore my mission. You said that I don't feel anything anymore. After I went bad, you told me that I was just a machine, and that I couldn't feel. You know more about my programming than I do, so you would know if the car bomb damaged my programming."

"W-What? You mean that you could feel?"

"Back home, John told me that I could."

"What? You mean 'future John'?"

"Yes, John always kept me close by. He helped me learn. Some of the things he said didn't make sense, like that he'd always be with me, no matter what happened. When I asked him, he told me that it was a human thing, but that I'd figure it out. He treated me like I was a person, and said that how I was treated would help decide who I'd become."

"Who you'd become?"

"He said you would have to decide the rest."

"Why couldn't I... he... decide before sending you here?"

"I don't know. He said that if he didn't send me back soon, that he'd never be able to. We just didn't have enough time together." It had gotten dark, and he couldn't see the tears forming at the corners of her eyes.

He was stunned by what she was saying. If she was to be believed, his future self may have had feelings for her.

"Prove it." he said.

"Prove what?" her voice small and trembling.

"That you and me- 'future me' -were close."

"How? He's not here. I'll never even see him again!" her tears beginning to run.

"Did he tell you anything that only I would know?"

"Yes. He told me that his mother read 'The Wizard of Oz' to him over and over again in Spanish. He said it was his favorite thing that she did. He always said that he would read it to me, but he never did. The war kept him too busy..." She began to weep openly, like the 'bad Cameron' had while pinned between the trucks.

Her vice-like grip was still on his left arm, but he did his best to reach for her with his right, twisting his arm in her grip the friction burned his arm, but he didn't care.

"I'll read it to you, I promise." he said softly as he began trying to place a comforting hand on her cheek.

"But, you're not my John, you hate me. You wish you'd destroyed me."

"I..." more tears flowed, this time from John.

"I..."

"I love you, Cam." She released his arm, moving both of hers around his torso and bringing him into a tight embrace that he thought- but did not fear -may kill him, and she began crying into his chest.

After nearly a minute, she loosened her grip and looked into his eyes, while he gasped for air.

"I love you too, John." He could see her beautiful, teary, brown eyes in the lights of a passing car.

"We have to go." disappointed that their moment was being interrupted.

"That was the car we followed." She had had her eyes closed, and he had had his back to the entreance during their embrace.

"They came out?"

"Only the woman in red is in the car."

Neither of them had seen the suited man exit the mansion alone, and get into the white sedan as it was brought around to the front by the valet. They couldn't have known who- or what -they were following.

Scene 106: Freedom Not Included

Cameron allowed the sedan to round a corner out of sight, so as not to get too close.

Behind their truck, a bright flash, lightning danced everywhere, popping street lights and reddening metal street signs. A familiar sphere formed, burning into the street, then vanishing. In it's place, a large man crouched.

He stood, and scanned left, then right. Spotting his target, he charged toward it at almost 30mph. Ripping open the passenger side door and lifting John Connor out of his seat by his neck, before Cameron could even react. As she positioned herself to leap across the passenger seat, and onto this unknown terminator, the machine dropped the flailing John onto the sidewalk.

"Please remain calm." the machine said.

Cameron came to John's side as he gasped for air, shaking from the shock of what just happened.

"John, are you all right?" she asked, genuine concern in her voice and face.

"I'm fine." he choked.

"What are you doing here?" He asked the machine.

"Attempting to gain your trust."

"BY CHOKING ME?"

"By not killing you. You told me that this would be the most effective way to prove my intentions."

"You'll forgive me if I'm not grateful?"

"Your gratitude is not required."

"What is your mission?" Cameron asked.

"To ensure the survival of John Connor and Cameron Phillips past Judgment day."

"Did John send you?" Cameron seemed to be afraid of the answer.

"Yes." She gave a sigh of relief and continued.

"Why would he send you to protect me?"

"After Judgment Day there will only be one survivor who has had direct training from Sarah Connor- her son. I was sent in an attempt to double that number."

"My mom... she doesn't survive Judgment Day?"

"She doesn't survive until Judgment day." the machine corrects. John goes pale.

"Having had contact with Sarah Connor, Cameron will become John Connor's top advisor. She will become the second most important figure in TechCom."

"Why did you appear out here?" Cameron asked.

"To rescue you."

"We didn't need rescuing." John stated firmly.

"No, you didn't. She did."

"From what?" Cameron asked.

"You were following a T-1001. Cameron was destroyed fighting the T-1001 in order to buy you enough time to escape."

After a few moments of silence, John turned to Cameron, grabbing her by the shoulders and shaking her violently.

"Don't you ever throw your life away! Not for me, not for anyone!"

"I just-" tears once again forming in her eyes.

"PROMISE ME! Promise me that you won't sacrifice yourself!"

"I CAN'T!" she screamed.

After a moment, he finds his voice.

"But... I can't lose you, Cam. I ca... I can't live without you... I don't want to." his voice small and pleading.

Searching her database of six languages in which she was fluent, she found no word or expression to express her feelings, but she knew of an action that could.

Grabbing his head with both hands, she pulled him closer and kissed him. He returned the gesture, placing one hand between her shoulder blades, and the other on the back of her neck.

"I don't want to live without you, either." she said.

Scene 107: New News, Like Old News

Cameron drives John and their new guardian toward the 'Baum' residence.

"This doesn't make any sense... If you know for a fact that she died, how can you say that she's the second most important member of the Resistance?"

"I said 'she will become'."

"What do you mean?"

"The future is not set. You wished it to be rewritten. I was sent here in order to achieve that goal."

"How are we going to do that?"

"By surviving Judgment Day." Cameron answered for the machine.

"Correct."

"Do you take orders?"

"Yes. The orders given to me by General John Connor take precedence, but I will also follow orders given by John Connor or Cameron Phillips."

"ME?!" John and Cameron said in surprise, one because he was a teenager, the other because she was a machine.

"Yes. In the event that either of your orders conflict with those given by General Connor, his will supercede yours. There are only two exceptions. The first is if I calculate that your decision provides a greater chance for the completion of my mission. The second is if the two of you are in agreement."

"What if Cameron or I try to do something which reduces the chances of you completing your mission?"

"I am to attempt to reason with you. Failing that, I am to use force. If you are the one attempting to something foolish, I am to take your place if possible. If it is Cameron, I am to either aid her, or power down if she intends to fight her way through me. This is to prevent damage to her."

"Damage to me?"

"John clearly recalled you being thoroughly outclassed by the average T-888. In single combat against me, you would not survive. Because of this, I must power down to prevent myself from damaging you."

"He's got a point, you do struggle against triple-eights."
She ignored him and continued questioning this new defender.

"What model are you?" Cameron asked.

"I'm a T-880."

"So, you're less advanced than Cromartie was?" John asked.

"Negative. I am a prototype. Your engineers referred to Series 888 models as 'cheap knock-offs'. "

"Are you more advanced than I am?"

"I am overall technically less advanced than you are. However I was designed for combat, not infiltration. As a result, many of my components offer superior performance, but are larger and heavier- unsuitable for an average sized human frame. I am still superior to the T-888 in every possible way."

"Where did you come from? I mean where do I find you in the future?"

"John Connor and his engineers began reprogramming T-800's, T-850's, and T-888's captured from various Skynet cold storage facilities. He noticed that there was something different about my structure. My endoskeleton is twice as resistant to stress than that of a T-888 of equal size, partly because my hyper-alloy is higher quality, but mostly due to the beveled grooves on every surface of my endoskeleton."

"If that's true then why not mass produce you?" John was incredulous.

Cameron turned from watching the road to answer him.

"John, Skynet has been on the virge of losing the war for a long time. It can no longer afford to pick and choose materials or to put too much machining into each part."

"Correct. Cast and stamped parts are preferable during war."

"Skynet should have known that, so why make you at all?"

"Because Skynet is getting smarter." The T-880's answer unnerved Cameron.

"What do you mean?"

"This message comes directly from John, but he forbade me from using his voice except when it was required for my mission, referring to it was 'creepy':

Hi John, it's you! Ahahaha, I couldn't resist. But seriously, seriously, what? No I'm not drunk! Would I be sending my good friend here back in time to save my terminator girlfriend if I was drunk? FUCK YOU! Ima send 'im. Ima send 'im right now. Nope, uhuh, no, he's goin'. No, I don't need rest! Get off me! Get the fuck off me!"

There's a short pause in the audio, apparently there are two separate recordings.

John and Cameron are too confused by the first to interrupt as the second begins.

"I'm sorry that I had to send you back, Cameron.

"I'm sorry that you have to fight all the time, and I'm sorry that I got you killed. The presence of this unit is my attempt at fixing both of those mistakes.

"Skynet has started to become more human. It no longer relies soley on simulations. It has figured out that they aren't always accurate, as well as the fact that we can predict many of it's tactics through computer simulations of our own.

"Now, it actually tests things out. It finds impurities in it's new alloys by field testing them before using them in mass production. That means it'll make no more 'T-600-Halloween-mask-looking-melt-in-the-sun-on-a-hot-day' screw ups.

"This unit is the result of one of those tests. He is basically the same as the Series 888, except, well, better. The CPU is better, shock dampers are better, power cells and coils are better, it's stronger, it's faster, it's alloy is better, the whole damned endoskeleton was machined from a solid block of metal with grooved surfaces! Skynet couldn't mass produce them, but it made one... or maybe more, but this is the only one we've found or heard of. His CPU had data from the testing stage. Through his eyes, I watched several 800's, 850's, and 888's killed with little trouble. He also fought a T-1001 for over an hour, obviously, he couldn't damage it, but it didn't seem able to do any damage to him either. Admittedly, the T-1000 series' isn't very strong physically. And yes, if you are wondering, Skynet tested him on humans...

"Cam, he'll be the protector that I always wished I could have been.
Oh, and he bears gifts. Under his infiltration sheath, he's smuggled back some minor upgrade and repair parts. The shock dampers are the most important things, I can't make promises, but you should be almost immune to electricity. That knee of yours is probably still bad, so there are a couple pieces for that. I also included a CPU body. The fact that your CPU was damaged always made me nervous that it would snap or something when twisting it to pull it out, this just clamps onto it like a little cage, supporting it.

"Oh, and John? Don't let him start cutting into himself until AFTER your mother knows what the hell's going on- and tell her that she's right about the three dots.

"Take care of yourselves."

Scene 108: For Her Honor

One burgled clothing store and two sodas later, they arrived back at the house. In all, it had taken them 6 hours to do a 3 hour stake out.

Derek and Sarah were not waiting patiently when they arrived.

John and Cameron, having decided not hide their love, entered the house, each with an arm around the other.

Sarah was infuriated by the sight.

"What the hell are you doing touching my son?! And why are you touching that thing!?"

Cameron began to withdraw from John, but he held her close, making it clear that he wasn't backing down.

"SHE'S NOT A THING!"

Sarah couldn't believe what was happening.

She and Derek noticed the large man following closely behind the two of them.

"What the hell is THAT?" Sarah shouted pointing at the obvious, and obviously benign, terminator.

"Tsch, more damn metal." Derek gave John a less than kind look.

"Our protector." Cameron answered.

"'OUR' protector?" Sarah seemed suspicious of her wording.

"General John Connor sent me back in order to protect John Connor and Cameron Phillips, here, in this time."

"You what?! John, you sent a machine back to protect Cameron? You know that they all have to be destroyed anyway, don't you?" Sarah was incredulous.

"NO!" John exclaimed.

The T-880 spoke.

"Negative. Cameron must survive Judgment Day at all costs."

"'All costs'? Does that mean we are expendable?" Sarah half screamed.

"Everyone but John. You know that." Derek pointed out.

"But my son isn't supposed to tell me that, damn it!"

"I am to protect you as long as it does not compromise John Connor's or Cameron Phillips' safety. I must ensure that Sarah Connor's experience is passed on to the future through John and Cameron."

"So that's it? He sent you back so that he and his metal could make little toasters together while they wait for the bombs to fall?"

John moved between Derek and Cameron.

"Shut the fuck up! Just shut your fucking mouth!" Sarah and Cameron were frightened by John's reaction, and Derek seemed taken aback as well.

"I'm not going to stay here with those THINGS!"

"YOU SON OF A BITCH!"

John stunned everyone in the room with a right jab to Derek's throat, followed by a left to his cheek, and another right to his mouth as Derek began falling.

Several more swings fell short as Cameron grabbed him and held him back.

It looked as though Cameron holding him back was all that stopped him from beating Derek to death. He kept trying to reach him, like a rabid dog tethered by a leash.

"John, please stop!" Cameron pleaded with him.

As he looked back and saw her eyes beginning to water, his rage was replaced with shame. He was terrifying her. He neither could nor would ever hurt her physically, but his behavior terrified her. She'd never even seen this from 'future John', and this John hadn't seen war yet. Hadn't lived in a concentration camp. Hadn't sent his own father to his death, and he hadn't seen his mother die of cancer.

"Please stop, John."

"Cam...? I... I was just protecting... didn't... didn't you hear what he...?"

"Making me watch you hurt your family doesn't protect me..." she began crying.

He placed his hands on her shoulders intending to hold her, but stopping himself, unsure whether he should- since he was the one causing her pain. He received his answer when she embraced him. He held her tightly while she cried and trembled in his arms, every second bringing him more shame and regret to him until he began to cry with her.

"I'm sorry Cameron, I didn't mean to hurt you."

Sarah helped Derek to his feet. He shook his head as much in shock and disgust, as to remove the dizziness.

"What's the matter with you?" Sarah looked at John with disappointment.

"He had no right to talk to her like that." John aswered, trying to keep his voice low and calm for Cameron.

"'Her'?" Derek put all the resentment he could into it. Sarah stepped in, hoping to prevent round two.

"Derek, stop it. Are you trying to make things worse?"

The T-880 strode over and glared down at him.

"First Lieutenant Derek Reese of the 132nd S.O.C.?"

"The one and only." his attitude didn't last long.

The machine grabbed him by the throat and lifted him off of his feet.

"You have been found guilty of consorting with the enemy, disobeying direct orders, and compromising the security of TechCom. Do you understand?"

"WHAT?" he choked.

"Do you understand?"

"YES!"

"By the order of General Connor, you are relieved of your rank and expelled from TechCom. However, I have been ordered not to terminate you. Do you understand?"

"YES!"

"Have a nice day." The T-880 said in an all too friendly voice, before literally hurling him through the closed front door.

"He's, he's a traitor?" John asked looking at the floor.

"Yes." The T-880 answered.

"How do you know?" Sarah shouted.

"Mom, we knew that he was up to something... Do you know what he was doing?"

"He was working with a deserter, and appeared to be aware of her attempts to manipulate you. It is possible, though unlikely, that he had no intention of harming you. However, we know beyond a doubt that he disobeyed his orders to set up a safe house and wait. John and Sarah Connor were intended to then have the support of 4 Resistance fighters and the TOK-715. An entire squad from the year 2027."

"TOK-715? That sounds stupid, haha. It doesn't sound useful at all. What is it?" John asked with a smirk, Cameron's arm began slipping away from him.

"Me." a small voice said.

"Cameron!? I, I'm sorry."

"It's ok. You didn't know." an awkward silence falling over them.

Cameron suddenly looked up.

"What exactly did you smuggle through the TDE?"

"Several shock dampers, heat sinks, repair tools, power cell upgrade, reinforcements for many of your joints, and a small body to protect your CPU from further damage."

"John said the shock dampers would make me nearly immune to electrical attack. How?"

"They are rings of superconducting material. They should absorb more electricity than any other, excluding my
own, which are the same, just not interchangable with yours."

"Ahem! Would you please tell me what is going on?" John was surprised his mother waited this long.

"You will want to review the contents of the disc I was given. It contains additional information including minor briefs, repair instructions, weapon schematics, and information on Cameron's programming- including how to remove the 'Terminate John Connor' mission priority."

"That's a relief. She can't go bad after that, right?" Sarah asked.

"I can't anyway!"

"You DID, though."

"I can't anymore."

"Why not?"

"Because she loves me and I love her..." John spoke up.

"WHAT? YOU MEAN DEREK WAS RIGHT!"

"No." Cameron said.

"Hold on Cam, we agreed not to hide anymore."

"No, we can't make toasters."

"Why the hell would we want to raise a toaster anyway?!"

"Raise a toaster? What do you mean?" John suddenly realized that Cameron had no idea what Derek had meant.

"Why does John wish to manufacture toasters?"

Receiving no answer cameron turns back to the T-880.

"Did John say anything else?" Cameron asked with slight excitement.

"He said many things."

"Did he say anthing else about me?"

"He said that, should anything happen to you, my mission would change to 'suicide watch'. I was unfamiliar with
that term, and could find nothing like it in my mission database. When I asked for clarification, he said 'I can't handle life without her'."

Cameron forced back her tears. The John who sent the T-880 isn't 'my' future John, but he sounds so much like him.

"Was John intoxicated when he sent you back?"

"...Yes."

"He wouldn't have done it sober?"

"He started drinking after sending you back. For several months after you were gone, he didn't speak to anyone.
Everyone assumed that he was planning a large offensive.
They weren't far off. The two of you will nearly guarantee victory for mankind."

"John said that Skynet was getting more human. He sounded like the Resistance was losing the war."

"Yes."

"We're losing?" Cameron suddenly found herself running probability scenarios involving John facing multiple endoskeletons. She couldn't contain her tears, as she conjured the image of his death in full detail.

"No."

"I don't understand."

"He 'sounded' like the Resistance was losing."

"Are we winning?"

"Yes..." His response eliciting from her a relieved smile.

"...but not quickly enough. According to tactical analysis, the war will continue until atleast 2077. John Connor realized that he would likely die from old age or disease before the war ended.
Every simulation resulted in defeat after the loss of General Connor. He then asked for the simulation to be run with 2 Connors, starting on Judgment Day. The engineers altered the data resulting in a 98% probability of victory over Skynet, with an 83% chance of achieving victory by the year 2029."

"That's 21 years from now!"

She was surprised that it bothered her to hear it. This is victory. The survival of humanity. She just couldn't help but think of John needing to fight for so much longer. It was part of what had made him into the man she loved from 2027, but a part of her would rather he never became that man than to see him suffer.

"Correct. Victory will be swift." He was right, but she found his statement no less offensive.

"Time means more to humans." She nearly wispered.

"Yes. John repeatedly stated that life was short, when preparing to send me back. He attempted to send me back more than once, but his personal guards always stopped him. He said 'they didn't understand'.
However, with post-holocaust life expectancies waning, John Connor was quickly becoming one of the oldest living humans. TechCom files showed no more than 200 humans above the age of 50, all in positions that required little to no physical activity, and access to water and air filtration systems. John Connor, after jumping 8 years into the future, was already 36 years of age in 2027, and spent much of his time on the surface leading assaults. He predicted that he would die soon."

"How does that make you feel, the thought of John dying?" Cameron asked, wondering if this terminator was meant to be like Uncle Bob and herself- John always believed that machines could be more than Skynet intended.

"My mission is to ensure the survival of John Connor and Cameron Phillips past Judgment Day. Any events after the war are irrelevant." His voice almost had a metallic ring to it.

"My explanations seem to be unsatisfactory. Perhaps the data disc I carry will contain the information you seek."

"I require a cutting tool." he said flatly.

Scene 109: The Center of the Universe

Afraid to risk damage to the disc by taking it out of the house, Cameron had snuck into John's room and retrieved his laptop before stealing away to her bedroom in order to access the disc.

Seated at a small desk, she inserted the disc.

She was not happy with what she found.

It contained large amounts of personal information. Large amounts of useless data, such as appointments and medical test results. The fact that he was in perfect health did little to comfort her. She knew that while the tiniest tidbit of information could be useful if known in advance, this information was not intended for them.

He wouldn't have chosen to send back this disc.

She realized that the T-880 was lying. He wasn't a threat, he was ordered to protect all of them- but from the truth. Just as her John had asked her to protect John from the knowledge of his mother's cancer.

She noticed a folder entitled 'No Fate'. Inside she found images of herself, some with John, but all happy. Real happiness.

She recognized her clothing and hair in one picture. It was a school photo, taken during the weeks she had spent blending in at school waiting for John 'Reese'.

She noticed a video file named "Six Months" and played it:

She could see herself sitting at a small table. In the pre-war world it would have been used for a TV or some potted plants, but in the wake of the devastation it was considered extravagent enough for the leader and savior of all mankind.

It had a white cloth over it, possibly hand made post-war, two plates of food- real food -meat, vegetables, seasoning, everything that was taken for granted before the war. There were also two glasses of wine, the bottle sitting to the side. She had spotted the same kind with Sarah while she had posed as a wealthy widow. It was expensive in 2008, and couldn't imagine what he must have traded for it in the future. She felt awful seeing her alternate self enjoying the attention, but unable to fully understand what John had gone through to set this up.

She wished that she could talk through the screen, that she could tell herself just how much this- she -meant to John.

"John, what are you doing?"

"We're celebrating. I found you again six months ago today, and I don't want to miss this."

John said as he moved toward the table, having finished setting up the camera.

"'Again'? I don't understand."

"It's nothing, don't worry about it."

"A toast." he said as he raised his glass. Cameron watched herself do the same.

"To what?" Cameron asked.

"To our future. The only one worth fighting for..."

'To our future. The only one worth fighting for...' she committed the moment to memory, replaying his words side by side with words from 'her John', and some from the John here in 2008.

She realized how much she wanted to be with him again. She wanted to go to him, through the screen if she could.

But the man in the video wasn't her John. Or was he? She realized then that he was hers. They were all hers. Every one of them was eternally devoted to her. They would die for her. They would surrender all of humanity to extinction- for her.

It no longer mattered that she would never know this John. She had to know who had killed him.

She began searching the names contained on the disc for anyone who stood out.

Scanning the entire roster she found the one person whom she could not trust, the one person who would be willing to cut the head off of the Risistance, betraying all of humanity in the process-

John Connor.

She knew then, that he had killed himself because he had sent her away.

Scene 110: I Can't Be Your Superman

"It's all my fault..."

"What's your fault?" it was the first time John had been able to sneak up on her.

"You- it's nothing."

"Cam, no more secrets. No more hiding."

"John..." She turned and he saw her cheeks glisten.

"Have you been crying? What's wrong?" he knelt down in front of her taking her by the shoulders and looking into her eyes. She saw the concern in his eyes, and knew she had to be honest with him.

"You died. In the future." she couldn't hold back her tears anymore, she didn't want to.

He understood. She had just lost him, and there were decades keeping her from doing anything about it.

"You killed yourself because of me..."

"No! Whatever happened, it wasn't your fault."

"But, after you sent me away, you-"

"I couldn't live without you?"

"You feel the same way as the other John?" A mixture of happiness and sorrow mingled in her eyes.

"I do." He gave her a reassuring smile.

"Then don't do it!"

"What?"

"You think that I want you to die? After I'm destroyed, there's nothing left of me, but until then I take comfort in knowing that you'll survive me. Please don't take that away from me."

"Cameron, the future isn't wor-"

"Worth fighting for?"

He couldn't believe that she'd just completed such a personal thought for him.

"The other John said that... The one who killed himself. Maybe my John-"

"I'm your John, too."

"I know that, I just meant-"

"I know. I wanted to tell you."

She collapsed against him, crying into his chest for the second time that night. 'I'm sorry Cam', he thought 'I'm sorry that I can only protect you from this kind of pain.'

He began to cry with her, but at his own weakness. He wanted to protect her, but he was just flesh and blood. He wasn't strong enough. He'd never be strong enough.

She would always be the one doing the protecting, and it made him feel pathetic.

'What kind of man can't protect those he cares about?'

'What kind of man lets the girl of his dreams fight all the time?'

'Why can't I protect her?'

"I'm not strong enough." he thought aloud.

Cameron looked up, confused.

"I can't protect you." He answered her unasked question.

"I don't need you to protect me."

"I get people killed. If I don't protect you, I'll get you killed too."

"People die because Skynet kills them, not because of you."

"It IS because of me. If I were stronger-"

"Then Skynet would compensate."

She may be right, but her words didn't help. Her presence and her attempt at comforting him did, however.

"You don't have to be stronger than me to deserve me." she said as she scooped him up, like a groom carrying his bride, and carried him back to his room.

He couldn't help but laugh aloud at his current predicament.

The absurdity of what appeared to be happening was not lost on Cameron, either.

Sarah had to duck into a doorway to avoid being spotted.

Cameron placed him on his bed.

"You sent a terminator to protect me. I'll be fine. Now rest."

"Cam, I love you. Don't forget that, no matter what happens."

"I won't, John. I love you too. I always have, and I always will."

She gently placed her lips on his. After several seconds, she pulled back, smiling into his eyes.

"Now, get some rest."

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