Disclaimer: I do not claim any rights to the Terminator films; the TV series, "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles;" or any characters depicted within the films or TV series. I do claim the right to this story idea and all characters and situations of my own creation. This story was created solely for my own enjoyment and the enjoyment of others. No profits are garnered from its distribution.



Part 2: Armageddon

Author: The1Russter

Chapter 26

Race Against the Machines

"Machines Sarah, machines! You can pretend that they're not, but they're coming. They're faster and stronger and they have been built to do one perfect thing: to kill you. They WILL kill you and your friends and your family. And your Mother and your Father and Kyle Reese and your son. Your son. They will kill everyone you love and everyone you hold close and there is nothing you can do about it, because they're coming. They are coming and they will find you, cos that's what they do. That's ALL they do." Sarah Connor, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Season 1 Episode 7, The Demon Hand, 2008

Terminator, "We must reacquire Katherine Brewster."

John Connor, "Why? What makes her so goddamn important?"

Terminator, "Through her, you make contact with remnants of the U.S. military and learn how to fight Sky Net, forming the core of the Resistance."

Excerpt from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, 2003

Derek Reese, "It's reprogrammed and just given run of the place. Like pets?"

Perry, "This is Connor's show. And that's what he wants."

Derek, "Those machines kill, they kill, that's all they do."

Perry, "And now... they do it for us!"

Excerpt from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Season 1 Episode 6: Dungeons and Dragons 2008

# # #

2027, Day 63, July 23, 5:30 AM

Dawn's early light, that is the phrase Derek was thinking of as he saw the first glimmers of light peaking through the heavily camouflaged air vent. It wasn't all that long ago he crawled into bed after spending the entire day helping with refitting the mounts for the missiles captured from the factory where he was enslaved.

Despite the fact he was weak and tired he was determined to give every last ounce in helping the regulars prepare for the coming battle. After years of struggle and hardship, they were finally in a position to attack Sky Net itself. He couldn't help but feel proud that it was his own unit, Grizzly, that found out where it was hiding.

He stamps his feet into his boots and ties up the laces. Just moments ago he got rousted out of bed by a private who looked more eager than the time of day required. Derek hated perky people in the early hours of the morning. Especially before breakfast, lunch, even dinner. Hell, he just hated perky people in general.

One minute later and he was standing in the anteroom to General Perry's office while a major in Army fatigues but wearing Air Force wings went inside to let the general know Derek was there.

This was only the second time he'd been to Perry's office but something about it was different. It took just a moment for him to realize the steel boxes of folders were gone and portable computer that had been sitting on the desk was also gone.

"Sir." The major stepped through the door, "General Perry is ready to see you now."

Three minutes later and Derek found himself eating a meal in the mess. He had a choice between a twenty year old MRE of beef stroganoff or the chef's own rattle snake stew. Being both ravenous and excited, he went with the stew and barely noticed the taste.

He was excited, and for the first time in a long while he was smiling. In less than an hour he'd be leaving in the first transport for Camp Pendleton, and see his brother Kyle again. He couldn't wait to learn how he had discovered Sky Net's location and how he'd been doing leading Grizzly in his absence.

Inside General Perry's office, he was having a short discussion with the pilot who'd be flying out. Presently the officer who will be going is making a minor protest.

"I understand the need for medical help and supplies, sir, but if radar has picked up movement in the region, then I'd personally prefer to fly there with an Apache escort or the very least in my own Apache."

"I understand your feelings, but the Black Hawk is armed and I understand your passenger is well read on the manuals. They need those supplies and they need your skills as a surgeon. The second group will leave shortly after you and won't be that far behind."

"Understood sir." Major Brewster acknowledges the command. It will go unsaid but even she realizes the situation. Her flight will be used to draw out any of Sky Net's HK's before the main group reaches Pendleton. Not strictly a suicide mission, but it comes as close as one can get.

"Is there anything else I should know?" She asks as the general hasn't dismissed her yet.

"Kate." When he calls her by her first name, a habit he picked up from her father, she knows something is up. "Derek Reese is unaware of the changes that has occurred within his unit during his absence. We'd like you to tell him what little we have learned."

So I also get to be the bearer of bad news. She thinks but instead asks, "What of Grizzly's use of reprogrammed machines? Reese has been pretty vocal of his hatred of all things metal after arriving here. Even more vocal than the worst of us."

"Tell him everything you know, Major. You have a unique perspective that should help him see the benefits of having machines fight for us for a change. You're dismissed."

She walks out feeling both elated at the news she'll be spending the next couple of hours with one really cute guy, yet disappointed at the task she's been given. Her duties and obligations kept her too busy to get to know Derek Reese the last few days, but soon they'll be leaving together. But the bad news, before getting to know Derek Reese, she'll have to tell him he's now an officer without a command. Not a good way to start off a relationship, if there is one. But damn! He's cute in a scruffy, masculine way.

# # #

But for the wind rustling the trees, not a sound is heard on the mountain top. The long abandoned observation domes stand like neglected sentinels, dripping with rust.

John Connor walks away from his mom's grave site with a heavy heart. He has just seen Catherine and Cameron leave as they fly off in the helicopter on their way to Weaver's mountain hideaway, where she has her time displacement equipment.

Cameron. He truly wished she could have stayed. But if it wasn't for her, his mom would never have survived Judgment Day and helped her raise Savannah and prepare the army he now commands. He owes her a lot, but why did Cameron leave Mom and Savannah? He knows what they told him, but it can't be right. He knows better. Cameron has two fuel cells not one.

The Cameron he knew before he time jumped only had a single fuel cell. He knows that for a fact. That time she had him check her fuel cell in that hotel room, will always haunt him. It was the most intimate moment they ever had. He wanted to kiss her so badly. But he found himself frozen, frightened and unable to move. He was almost thankful that Cameron broke the situation before it got any more awkward. But the one thing he learned was that she had but one fuel cell, and if it leaked or was damaged, then she would have to be deactivated or destroyed for everyone's safety. That is why he had another fuel cell installed. It had nothing to do with the power requirements for having a second chip. A single fuel cell is more than adequate for two.

The garage looms large in the twilight of the early morning as he clears the trees and walks down the slope. The storm has passed. He's more exposed to the wind now. He feels chilly despite it being mid summer. John runs the remaining distance to the garage that Catherine pointed out to him, followed by a figure keeping pace, using his footsteps to mask her own.

Outside the garage, the Triple-8's are standing guard. They have seen the girl but say nothing, having received orders not to speak of her presence. They follow him inside when he enters. The vehicles inside are a menagerie of various kinds. Obviously some belonged to the people who used to work here. However, the guns on the wall and the equipment on the tool bench make it clear that some resistance group made use of the building at some time in the past. Especially, since the big standout in the building is a military Humvee equipped with a roof mounted .50 caliber machine gun.

John can only think it must have been acquired from one of the many abandoned military bases shortly after Judgment Day. According to what he learned, after the immediate nuclear attack on all the cities, the military bases were hit next by conventional weapons and the first generation of Terminators and HK style drones that were already shipped to them. The others were attacked by more conventional arms.

He doesn't know how long the truck has sat there, but a quick examination shows it to be in working order with a full tank of diesel. Some of the other vehicles look like junk, just sitting there gathering dust. John walks to the other side of the garage where there are two items under a large dusty tarp. He pulls it aside and uncovers a purple and black Harley. John Connor smiles. Now that is a ride. Not the color he would choose, but it is hot!

John always liked motorcycles. He used to have one when he lived with his foster parents. That was destroyed while being pursued by the T-1000. Then he was rescued by "Uncle Bob," who was riding a real motorcycle. John always wanted to have one for himself, but his mom wouldn't let him. Too dangerous she said. Ha. Like their life wasn't filled with danger anyway. At least Charley had a bike that he allowed him to drive, when his mom was shopping or at work. John's smile quickly fades to a frown. It should never had happened. Charley dying to protect him. He missed Charley.

He pulls the tarp off the rest of the way and reveals an off-road motorcycle with some kind of collapsible cradle mounted on the side which he surmises must be used for carrying cargo. In the corner of the garage is another Harley. It looks like it was being overhauled. Sometime ago, judging by its disassembled nature and the dust that is on it.

John goes through the items in the garage and selects some items he knows they could use back at the base. There is some homemade pipe bombs with timers instead of fuses. He grabs as many of the pipe bombs as he can and shoves them into a saddle bag on the motorcycle. He finds some additional power cells for the plasma rifles and shoves them into the saddle bag. He already has his sidearm and a plasma rifle and his backpack with his computer inside.

The two triple eights select the Humvee with the roof mounted machine-gun. John can't help but grin at that. Of course, go for the biggest vehicle with the biggest gun. He remembers "Uncle Bob" grinning at him when he picked up the mini-gun. Is there some kind of macho streak in these big metal men? They also take with them a selection of automatic rifles and ammo for the guns.

John pushes the motorcycle outside. "I'll lead the way. You two follow and keep an eye out for any trouble." John says to the machines. They both nod in unison, acknowledging what he said.

When the T-888's drive the Humvee out, John closes the garage door. He pulls on an extra jacket, he found in the garage, for extra warmth in the chilly, early morning, mountain air. John straddles the motorcycle and kicks the starter. The bike roars to life. John drives off with a big grin on his face. Behind him the triple-8's follow in the Humvee.

"Damn. He took the Harley." Cameron says as she runs for the garage. "I liked that bike."

Without turning on the lights, she goes straight to an equipment locker, and pulls some stuff out. Cameron pulls on the motorcycle leathers and a full coverage helmet, disguising both herself and her basic uniform. She thought it best to change her clothes before running ahead of John and Weaver to board the helicopter. However, there was one item she did not remove, her wedding ring, and pulls on the matching gloves to hide her hands.

There is one benefit of John taking her Harley. Cameron pulls something from a lower shelf and unwraps it. She places the shoulder mounted missile launcher in the cradle on the motocross bike. If John had taken this bike, there would have been no means of carrying the missile launcher on the Harley. He'd better take damn good care of my bike, she thinks.

She pushes the bike outside, closes the door, and then drives off following John and the T-888's, at her own pace. Regular transmissions from the T-888's keep her appraised of their position and situation. No need to reveal herself unless it becomes necessary.

As she follows John Connor, her thoughts turn back to a conversation now taking place several miles away in a helicopter now making its way to the Sierra Nevada. Cameron can only believe it was her own ignorance and Weaver's need of her which saved her own life.

2027, Day 63, July 23, 6:00 AM

The helicopter flies through the early morning skies unmolested. Sky Net's machines are busy elsewhere this morning.

The respite allows its two occupants to concentrate. One on its present task, and the other on the tasks that has been entrusted for her to do. She wasn't ordered to do it, she wasn't programmed with anything beyond the information she would need to know. He only told her of the situation and asked her to help him. She didn't know why, but it seemed the most natural thing to say yes, and there would be a benefit to helping him, she would find a part of herself that has been hidden away, and help two people live.

Nearly an hour into the flight, Catherine asks Cameron a question. "Cameron, would you do something for me when you return to 2009?"

"What do you want me to do?" She asks in her quiet demeanor.

"My daughter, Savannah. She was six years old when I had to leave her behind. The people who came after myself and John, and his mother are after her too."

"Are you asking me to protect her?"

"Yes, but she will need rescuing first. She is in danger and you are the only one who can do it."

"Give me details. If it can be done without interfering with my other missions, I will help your daughter."

"A few days before I had to leave, my daughter came under attack. Your other self, John and his family rescued Savannah. Nothing else happened to her after that. I thought she would be safe. I was wrong."

Catherine continues to tell Cameron of what happened to Savannah after she left her behind and where Cameron will find her and rescue her. Her knowledge is scant, based only on what little information Savannah told her. Despite having an excellent memory, Savannah's recall was clouded by her emotions at the time. By the time Catherine is done telling Cameron all she needs to know, they are landing on the grounds outside the entrance to an ancient cold-war bunker.

# # #

On Sky Net's vast network it pursues the infiltrator relentlessly. Like some great chess match, the player's make feints and attacks, losing and winning ground, yet neither gaining an upper hand in the great cyber struggle.

Sky Net reacts as if it were the target of the attack, and yet finds itself blindsided when its opponent instead goes after a communication node, then it goes after an automated factory, then targets the satellites, then goes after it, then targets some other resource. Never sitting still like it knew exactly what Sky Net would do before it did. Sky Net realized that its opponent could only be one person.

John Henry uses all his skills and knowledge to keeps Sky Net distracted from his true purpose and as long as Sky Net is busy chasing all the shadows, it won't find him. That is until John Henry finds something that he wasn't expecting. Now he must find a way to relay that information to his friends without drawing Sky Net's attention before he finishes his task or else someone will die.

Back at Pendleton, John Henry has been sitting passively for hours while hacking into Sky Net's network. Kyle stretches and yawns. He is tired. He's been awake now for nearly twenty-four hours, but he was entrusted by John Henry to destroy him if he is taken over by Sky Net.

It's been only he and John Henry the last few hours. The technicians took to their beds a while ago. After John Henry plugged himself into the network, there wasn't anything for them to do but just monitor the data, and the computers could log that information automatically. So Kyle has only had himself for company the last few hours. He's used to long hours by himself standing guard, just never in a situation where he might be guarding himself.

Hearing a noise from somewhere behind him, Kyle turns to see Savannah walking into the room, yawning.

"Morning Savannah. What can I do for you?" He says, sounding groggy himself.

Savannah's eyes are red from lack of sleep and crying. She looks about then asks, "Morning Kyle. Have you seen John this morning? I haven't seen him since Sarah's memorial service."

"John and Catherine left after the memorial service by helicopter. They took Sarah's casket with them. John was going to bury her someplace in the mountains, safe from Sky Net."

"I wish he told me. I would have gone with them." She says with genuine concern. "Sarah was like a mom to me. I knew she would die someday, just not like that. I really wished I could have said goodbye one last time."

"I know what you mean, but I don't think John was thinking very clearly. He seemed pretty determined to go it alone." Kyle says with a frown as he didn't agree with that decision. "But Catherine went with him, if that's any consolation."

"Some. John can be just as stubborn as his mother. Did Allison go with them? I haven't seen her this morning either."

"No, she didn't. She might be still asleep. She's typically an early riser like myself, but yesterday wasn't exactly a normal day. Allison's been through a hell of a lot in her life. Yesterday was the day she had been dreaming of, until it turned into that nightmare." Kyle's voice gradually got more somber. It wasn't a good day for John either. It was no wonder he wanted time alone. Stupid, but understandable.

Breaking free of his reverie Kyle says, "Hey! Did you check the medical center? She might be helping treat the injured soldiers. She is a fully trained medic now, and she was always helping Doc at the outpost."

"No, I haven't. I'll check the medical center later." Savannah stares at John Henry. "What's John Henry doing?"

"He is hacking into Sky Net's network to get intelligence."

"That sounds dangerous. We did something similar at Crystal Peak, but it was a passive system. The old defense computers were still hooked up to the network and we used them to monitor when the satellites were passing overhead. One of our team members took a motorcycle to an observatory nearby and used the telescopes to verify that the satellites were passing over according to the information obtained. It was how we were able to operate unmolested all these years and travel to Pendleton unharmed."

Kyle is astonished by what he's been told. He shifts his weight, setting the rifle on the floor leaning against one of the servers.

Shocked, she asks, "Why are you standing guard with that gun?"

"John Henry asked me to kill him if Sky Net takes over his system." He replies calmly.

Savannah eyes grow wide with fear.

"It's all right." He places his hand on her shoulder. "He's got multiple firewalls, whatever they are, to protect himself. It is very unlikely I'll have to shoot him." Kyle gives her a reassuring smile.

"I hope not. He was my childhood friend. He and John Connor saved my life when I was very young."

"Don't worry. Shooting him is not something I plan on doing unless I have no other choice." He says with genuine compassion.

Savannah's attention is suddenly distracted by a sudden change in one of the monitors. "What's that?"

"What's what?" Kyle asks, trying to figure out what she is looking at.

"The video on that monitor changed." Savannah says pointing.

Kyle and Savannah walk past John Henry to look at the monitor. The video has change from streams of data to a live video feed from high overhead. As they watch the video, they can make out an object moving swiftly along a twisting mountain road. It appears to be followed by a larger object and several smaller ones.

"It looks like video feed from a satellite." Savannah says, from experience.

"John Henry did it! He's hacked into Sky Net's satellite system!" Kyle shouts.

Just then another monitor next to it changes to show video coming from something pursuing someone on a motorcycle. The hood of a Humvee quickly appears and disappears in the video as whatever the camera is mounted on swoops and weaves back and forth through the air. Bright flashes can be seen as bullets hit the pavement behind the motorcyclist. The video becomes steady long enough for a clear view of the rider of the motorcycle. Data streams across the bottom of the video indicating that whatever is chasing the driver is arming missiles. The rider looks over his shoulder and the video quickly zooms in on his face. It is John Connor!

"Dammit! I knew something like this would happen!" Kyle shouts in panic, his tiredness quickly forgotten.

Sky Net is pleased. John Henry has made a mistake and revealed himself on its network. It only remains to trace his signal to the source and either destroy him, or use him to destroy others where Kreilley failed.

But Sky Net got one thing wrong. It wasn't a mistake. John Henry revealed himself in the final stratagem to distract Sky Net from the virus he's unleashed on it's communication network. It will be a gradual process as the virus spreads out then at the schedule time it will shutdown communications and rewrite the codes for access. Now he only has to keep Sky Net busy for as long as he can until John Connor is safe.

# # #

"What is this place?" Cameron asks Catherine as they walk to the bunker's entrance.

"It was a fallout shelter built during the cold war in the 1960's. The mountain is called Crystal Peak. I bought it from the government in 2007 and used it as a remote lab for security. If Judgment Day comes before we return, you need to bring Sarah and Savannah here. I'll show you how to gain entry and disable the fail safe mechanism."

The two of them walk inside the hanger that disguises the entrance and through the empty hanger to the blast doors on the far side. Catherine shows Cameron the codes she will need to use to gain entry and then how to disable the timer on the self destruct mechanism.

"How is this place powered?" Cameron asks as they make their way through to an upper level.

"There is a small nuclear powered generator on another level with several diesel generators for backup. The nuclear generator is disabled, only the diesel generators function now. There is only enough fuel left to generate sufficient power for a single temporal transfer."

Catherine Weaver operates the hidden mechanism for opening the camouflage doors to the hidden chambers. "If you do bring Sarah and Savannah here because of Judgment Day, these rooms must be kept secret and you must make sure sufficient fuel is left to operate the TDE."

Barely had the thought formed and before her mouth shaped the words, Catherine realized she is responsible for the disabling of her base of operations. But like John Connor, saving someone in the past is more important than the present.

Without missing a beat, she asks,"Do you have the coordinates for where and when John wants you to be sent?"

"Yes." Cameron says handing Catherine a slip of paper as they enter the room where Catherine's Time Displacement Equipment is constructed.

"Nothing inorganic will travel through. No metals, no equipment of any kind. You will need to obtain clothing and weapons on your arrival."

"I know. I have full details on the operational parameters of all forms of time displacement equipment and their limitations. All I need I have in here."

Cameron steps up onto the platform, taking her place at its exact center. Catherine turns on the generators from her remote panel. The lights come on in the room and the control panel for he activates. She only has to wait for the capacitor's to fully charge before activating.


"Yes Cameron?"

"You should know, John also asked me to save Savannah. He had more details than you. I told him yes."

Catherine looks somewhat surprised as she punches in the relevant data. "Thank you, Cameron."

The energy field starts to build and electric sparks radiate about the room. The temporal sphere begins to form around Cameron. Suddenly with a flash it disappears. Shortly afterward the panel goes off followed by the lights. The emergency lights come on bathing everything in a pale yellowish light.

"You see John Henry. I do love Savannah even if she isn't my daughter." Catherine says to the empty room.

Utilizing the emergency lights, she checks her communicator for any signals from the cable formed from her body. She's disappointed to realize its own power source must have been depleted and that John must not have it plugged into his computer where it recharges. She couldn't tell him to reattach it without giving away why. She had a difficult enough time in convincing the boy to keep it in the first place. But he will need if he is to survive.

She quickly leaves the bunker and walks back out to the helicopter. There is just enough fuel to get her back to Pendleton, but she needs to go somewhere else and there is only enough fuel to get her halfway there. Then she will have to walk the rest of the way.

Cameron is keeping close tabs on John Connor and his security team when her internal chronometer alerts her to the time. Catherine Weaver has just used th to send her back to 2008. To a time just prior Sarah going off on her own on a reckless quest. Looking back on her arrival, she is thankful her benefactor had a Harley. It was fast, very fast, and purple!

2008, December, dawn

Cows are quietly dozing in the early morning hours at a ranch in the California hills. A gust of wind blows and a spark of lightening flashes in the clear dawn air sending the cows scurrying and mooing.

The lightening continues to flash as a glowing sphere forms next to the fence. The sphere grows transparent and disappears revealing a naked girl kneeling in the dusty soil and a hole in the fence in the form of a perfect circle.

Cameron rises up and scans the area around her. Twenty cows running away from her. One barn. No clothing there and the only available transportation is a tractor. Riding a tractor without clothing would certainly draw attention to herself. Across the wide yard is a house. Must be clothing and transportation there.

As Cameron walks toward the house, a small white dog comes running out a pet door towards her barking like its fur was on fire. Cameron flashes her eyes and says quietly, "Go away."

The little dog darts away as fast as its little legs can carry it, with its tail between its legs yelping for all the world, scaring the cows even more.

"Stop fussing Curly. Momma will be home later." A woman's voice comes from inside the house.

Cameron watches a woman exits the house wearing a set of motorcycle leathers and walks toward a Harley parked in the shadows of a lean to shed.

She approaches purposefully as the woman straddles her bike.

The woman is adjusting her hair prior to putting on the helmet when she sees the nude girl with a wide blank face quickly approaching her in the early dawn. She quickly thinks the girl must be in shock or in some kind of daze as she shows no emotion.

"Oh my God! Are you okay? Do you want me to call 9 -1-1?"

Cameron steps up to her and smiles. "I like your motorcycle."

Five minutes later the woman sits gagged and tied to a kitchen chair wearing nothing more than her bra and panties. The girl took her cash, her brand new motorcycle leathers and her Harley. She screams against the gag as she struggles to free her hands. The woman realizes there is another cause for the girl's expressionless face, she's probably a psychopath.

Cameron pushes the motorcycle to its limits. She has little time to act, to gather necessary weapons and materials. Based on the position of the stars, she has less than forty-eight hours before Sarah Connor will be shot at Desert Heat and Air.

Cameron finishes accessing her file of when she acquired the Harley. With some disappointment in her current all-terrain motorcycle, she turns up the throttle. She can only hope that John will take care of her Harley. She loves that bike.

2027, Day 63, July 23, 6:30 AM

The UH-60 Black Hawk flies through the air over the desert under expert skill. The pilot, a veteran of the long war against the machines in the western states of New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah, controls the helicopter with an ease and grace of long experience. There are no wasted movements. Each move is only made when necessary.

The Black Hawk has been modified since its time as an Army transporter. Instead of the machine gun mounts at the windows between the pilot doors and the main cabin doors, operated by independent soldiers, there are twin 20mm canons mounted under the cab, remote operated by the pilot. A weapons control system, adopted from another helicopter for operating the missiles, is in the copilots section. The missiles plus two external fuel tanks are mounted on ESS stub wings.

A fringe of dark red hair peeks out from under the helmet of the pilot. A light smile just barely turns up the corners of her mouth. No matter the job, she still gets a thrill from flying. The cute guy beside her is also plus, but she's had no luck in getting him to talk since taking off. Derek Reese shows more interest in sleeping and one thing she doesn't like is when a cute guy ignores her.

Kate lets the helicopter drop suddenly and then recovers, causing Derek Reese to fly up out of his seat and land back in it with a shout.

"Sorry, turbulence." She says quickly, thinking, that was a feeble excuse.

"So, what's your story?" She asks again, but Derek just mumbles something about women pilots and tries to settle in to sleep.

Fairly pissed off with his attitude, she shouts, "Listen buddy. We're going to be flying in this crate for a couple of hours, and as much as I like peace and quiet, having a passenger sulking for the entire trip is not my idea of a fun trip."

He just looks over at her. "I'm not sulking. I'm just tired, and the name is Derek Reese. Call me buddy one more time, and my next reply will be with my fist."

"Well, Derek Reese. My name is Major Kate Brewster. You try and throw a punch at me and I'll break your goddamn arm then toss you out of my bird."

After a moment, Derek smiles. "I like you."

"Yeah." She smiles dryly. "That's what they all say until they learn that I can out fly them or out fight them. So Reese, what's your story?"

"Well, since you asked so nicely, my story in a nutshell is this. I led resistance group Grizzly for ten years. I was then captured and forced to work in a Sky Net work camp. I was tortured, worked and tortured for over a month. Led a rebellion, killed the twisted bastard, Fischer, who tortured me. Then General Perry and his men overran the prison and got us free. Now I am flying in this bird with you. What's your story?"

"Before Judgment Day I had completed medical school, had my pilots license and was thinking of working with Doctors without Borders in Central America. Then J-day came I went to work for my dad, General Brewster. I then became a fully trained surgeon, and learned to fly nearly every aircraft still flyable in the US Military. Now I'm flying you, and a bunch of medical supplies out to Camp Pendleton. I've inflicted as much damage to the enemy from behind a flight stick as I've treated humans for injuries. Don't know which I like more."

"I'll give you the answer to that one." Derek says with a crooked grin.

"Which is?" Kate replies glancing at the rough looking

"Killing metal."

They both laugh.

2027, Day 63, July 23, 6:45 AM

The drones fly through the night air, searching for the signal. It's low power but in an atmosphere free of radio signals of the pre-judgment day civilization, the signal stands out like sentinel crying out, here I am!

Communicating with Sky Net that they've tracked down the target, they are ordered to begin their attack. Though there was a slightly longer than usual delay between communications, the drones ignored it as it wasn't their problem. Sky Net was busy hunting down the infiltrator on its network.

The drones get into attack formation and whether it was happenstance that one of the T-888's look up and behind them at that moment, or whether it felt the buzz of the drones communications on its transceiver is not known, but it wasted no time in transmitting what it sees to his companion and to the cyborg following them.

Cameron accelerates, closing the distance between herself and the cyborgs protecting John Connor. She crests a hill just in time to see a T-888 open fire with one of the weapons he took from the garage.

John Connor is enjoying the ride when his euphoria is interrupted by heavy gunfire from behind.

Looking over his shoulder he sees an HK drone come flying in over the Humvee. It has a single 20mm cannon mounted on its underside and a bank of three missiles under each wing. As he watches several more come flying up along side the first.

"Oh shit!" he says and hits the accelerator.

John weaves back and forth to avoid being hit. The machines behind him in the Humvee open fire with their automatic weapons on the HK drones.

He manages to evade being fired upon by the HK's cannons when they suddenly begin firing their missiles. Three fly over his head, one exploding about 50 yards in front of him while the other two hits on either side of the road.

He just barely avoids the flying debris as he maneuvers the bike through the smoke and dust.

A T-888 climbs up through the hatch and begins operating the roof mounted mini-gun. The small and fast HK drones zip and dash about like mosquitoes avoiding being swatted. The T-888 with the mini has trouble hitting them because of their quick movements, but he prevents the HK's from making accurate shots at John.

Watching carefully the terminator handling the mini-gun shoots down one of the HK's by targeting its missile racks. The missiles explode taking the HK with it. Using the same method, he manages to shoot down two more. They aren't armored like their bigger brothers.

Out of the remaining five, two of the drones sweep around behind the Humvee and begin firing on it. Spinning the mini gun around, the T-888 fires on the pursuing HK's. Eventually one of the HK's fires it missiles at the Humvee and it blows up, taking the triple-8's with it. John nearly loses control of his motorcycle from the force of the blast, but he manages to regain control.

The HK drones continue to pursue him. He's gained some distance as the HK's had to work to avoid the gunfire from the Triple-8's, but now that they and the Humvee are gone, the drones are catching up.

John pulls to the side of the road and stops the bike. He leaps off and dives for cover behind a fallen tree. Grabbing his rifle he opens fire on the approaching HK drones.

As the HK drones come sweeping in firing their weapons, John begins firing his plasma rifle on the leading drone. He hits its nose where its targeting sensors would be located and then fires on the missiles still on their racks. They explode taking the HK with it. The last two drones fly off.

He is surprised when the HK's go flying off. He walks back to his motorcycle. It is undamaged. A roaring sound comes to his ears. He looks back up the road, whence he came, and can see motorcycles approaching. Each is manned by a machine with plasma rifles mounted on the bikes. They begin firing at him. John hits the throttle and takes off with a roar.

John's got the throttle wide open. The twists and turns of the mountain road nearly kills him as he takes the turns far faster than what is safe, but slowing down makes him an easier target for the pursuing metal.

Beams of plasma shoot past him and hit objects on the side of the road as he keeps weaving back and forth.

"Why the hell didn't I listen to Kyle and Allison?" John says as the metal gets ever closer.

2027, Day 63, July 23, 7:15 AM

The video feed from the HK disappear in a bright flash.

"Son of a bitch!" Kyle exclaims.

He steps in front of John Henry who is staring blankly ahead.

"Where is he?" Kyle shouts at him.

There is no response from John Henry.

"Dammit John Henry! Where the hell is John Connor?"

Savannah shouts excitedly, "He heard you! Look! The picture has changed! It looks like a map."

Kyle quickly moves to her side. "It's not just a map. The satellite image is superimposed over it."

They watch the video about a minute.

"I know where he is." Kyle says. "We flew over that area to get here."

"Where is he?"

"Just stay here with John Henry. I'm going to arrange a rescue." With those words, Kyle hands her the plasma rifle and runs from the room.

Savannah looks at the plasma rifle and then at John Henry.

"Take care of yourself John Henry. I don't want to kill you."

She turns to watch the video and doesn't see the warning message on the screen behind her saying the first firewall has been breached.

# # #

There is no scarier sight in the world then an outlaw motorcycle gang. Except for a motorcycle gang made up of nasty terminators with plasma rifles.

John pushes the Harley to the fastest speed he can mange on the twisting mountain road. The twists and turns are slightly to his advantage as it keeps him moving so the endo's don't get a clear shot. But then they don't have to worry about crashing and killing themselves either and are quickly catching up with him.

Unable to fire on the machines coming up behind him, he reaches into the saddlebag and pulls out a pipe bomb. Giving the timer a quick turn with his teeth he then throws the pipe bomb behind him.

It hits the road with a clatter and explodes before the first motorcycle even gets to it.

"Damn!" John swears and reaches for another pipe bomb.

He twists the timer once again just a little further than before. He throws it behind him where it clatters on the pavement.

This time it doesn't explode until they pass it.

"Damn!" John swears again and hits the accelerator. He dare not risk all of it. There's gotta be a better method.

All this time plasma beams have shooting all around him, some bouncing off the chrome of the bike some just missing him. He's got to do something soon or he's going to end up dead.

He lets out a yell as one beam just misses his upper left arm, striking the mirror causing it to explode.

He takes a hard turn and plasma beams shoot past him hitting a tree in front of him. The base of the tree explodes in flames and begins to topple across the road. John hits the accelerator and just squeezes under the falling tree before it crashes down behind John blocking the road. The pursuing endo's slow down to find a way to get around it. John wastes no time. He will only have a minute or perhaps only seconds to set a trap.

Accelerating down the road as fast as he can, he begins looking for a place to lay in a trap.

2027, Day 63, July 23, 7:20 AM

A group of CH-47 Chinooks and Ch-46 Sea Knights fly across the southwestern desert from Arizona into California. They are escorted by AH-1 Super Cobra's and AH-64 Apache's. High in the sky above them are fighter jets of various types and ages. They have many F/A-18 Hornets, F-16 Falcons and F-22 Raptors, even a few old F-14 Tomcats rescued from the airplane graveyard.

Major General Justin Perry rides in back of one of the Chinooks. Across from him sits his friend, General Robert Brewster.

"What are you thinking Preston?" The aged but tough Air Force General asks his friend.

"I'm thinking about how to handle this situation with Grizzly. They're wanting to handle the main campaign seems a trifle arrogant to me." The Marine lets out sigh sounding more like a bark over the headset. "And this information from Derek Reese on John Connor puts a whole new light on the situation as well. I wasn't expecting him to be so young."

"The information I had from the T-850 never said how old he would be, and like you, I did expect him to be older. But you and I have read the files on John Connor, he is the prophesied leader that will lead us to victory over Sky Net. Maybe this Reese is just angling for a reason to get his command back."

"He doesn't know, or at least he didn't before leaving. I requested your daughter inform him of the situation regarding Grizzly."

"If that argument is out of the fire, then the only reason you're pissed is because Grizzly wants to take the main action and you know they've got the ground forces to pull it off, and you don't. Isn't it?"

Justin takes one look at the smile on his friends face and grins back.

"Dammit. Its true, but I think we might be able to sabotage Sky Net in a critical way. That second flight by the spy plane revealed the Serrano Point nuclear power plant is still operational. That is the last piece of ground we defended in 2018 before pulling out at the Battle of Avila Beach. I think Serrano Point is where its getting its power from. It would certainly explain the huge fight it made to take it from our hands."

"So you think that if you cut the power cord, you kill Sky Net. A good plan, but surely it would have back up generators at Topanga. Sky Net could keep operating for hours, maybe days, while more machines arrive. If Connor doesn't destroy Sky Net's computer core within hours of his attack, then the resistance would be finished."

"So, even if we do kill the power, and hold Serrano Point, we've still managed to cut its main source of power. Which leaves the final victory down to the effectiveness of their plan. What do you think of it?" Perry asks.

"It is daring, bold and unconventional, that's for certain. Connor has definitely drawn on some classic military maneuvers from history and added some twists." Brewster pauses, musing over the plan. In all the years planning combined air and ground battles with his friend Preston, he thought he'd seen it all. Maybe it does take a younger mind with fresh ideas to pull off something this big. Besides, he and his daughter had some idea this was coming. Maybe John Connor is as young as Derek Reese says, but he's seen young men and women lead squads, platoons, etc., so why not an army?

"I think it will work and if we can effectively time events of both attacks, then we might actually pull it off. We'd have to interrupt Sky Net's communications first." He finally says, to a grim but pleasant smile of his friend. "What?"

"Something I hadn't told you yet. Something Colonel Kyle Reese said on the radio yesterday evening. He said they were hacking into Sky Net's satellite and computer network. We've been trying that for years without success. If they pull that off, then this battle could very will succeed."

"How are they doing it?"

"I imagine they must have put a machine on it. Almost a third of their forces are machines, and their Colonel Henry is a machine. If anything can hack into Sky Net it would be one of them."

Brewster just shakes his head. No one in the regular forces had figured out the machines programming. By his very actions he had the machines destroyed in 2004. If he kept the good one, or just his processor. No. The machine warned him that would just bring about Sky Net again. Everything had to be destroyed. Ten years of work and his career over. He never rose above Brigadier General and was shuffled from one thankless job to the next. The single stars on epaulets used to fill him with shame but Judgment Day changed that. Since then he's been proud of those single stars as he's watched men and women battle machines and soon he might even see...

"Machines fighting machines." Perry says, echoing Brewster's thoughts. "I can hardly believe it. Why is it no one in the regular forces figured out how to reprogram them? How does John Connor know this stuff?"

"You'll just have to ask him when we get there. He sounds like a damn miracle worker to me. The reports that Captain Beddell sent in have nothing but praise for Connor. Beddell was a good judge of character. No one has ever pulled the wool over his eyes."

"Excuse me Generals," The pilot shouts. "But we are getting a radio message from Major Brewster. Do you want me to patch it through to your headsets or do you want to come up front?"

"Patch it through to me now." General Brewster shouts. His daughter wouldn't break radio silence unless it was important.

"This is Major Kate Brewster on flight from Yuma to Pendleton. We are under attack. Repeat. We are under attack. Requesting immediate assistance!"

2027, Day 63, July 23, 7:30 AM

Kyle runs through the corridor and into the officer's lounge.

"Who's in charge of transportation?"

Several faces look up from books and cups of water.

"Chief Williams is in charge of transportation." One of the young soldiers offer.

"Where can I find him?" Kyle shouts at him.

"More than likely in the motor pool."

"Where is it?"

"You need to go down this corridor and take the elevator..."

"Dammit I haven't got time for this." Kyle grabs the man by the arm. "Just take me there now!"

Kyle runs down the corridor half dragging and half being led by the soldier.

He arrives at the motor pool. "Where's the friggin' transport officer?" Kyle shouts.

"Over here. What can I do for you?" A tall woman in greasy overall's comes out from under a truck with a wrench in her hand.

"I need transportation now. General Connor is in trouble!"

"I've got three Humvees and a few jeeps ready for use."

"I'll take a Humvee." He turns and shouts at the man he dragged with him. "You! Get back inside rouse up some soldiers and get me a radio and some weapons. Also get a radio to Captain Weaver. She is in the computer room. Hurry!" Kyle shouts and gives the soldier a shove.

"I need this truck fueled and ready to go in five minutes!"

2027, Day 63, July 23, 7:50 AM

Two of the machines stopped and got off their motorcycles. Walking to the tree they picked it up and threw it to one side allowing the rest of their group to continue. Moving quickly, they caught up to the rest of their motorcycle gang of Endo's.

John can't see them yet but he can hear them. If he doesn't find a spot to set a trap soon he'll be dead, either from wrecking the bike or getting hit by plasma.

Over the course of time, the deer population grew and spread throughout the mountains after Judgment Day. One of these deer hearing the unaccustomed sound of a roaring motorcycle leaps out into the road right in John Connors path.

With no time to swerve to avoid the sudden apparition blocking his path, Johns lays the bike down on its side just before impacting the deer. The Harley strikes the deer and both slide off onto the shoulder as John tumbles down the road.

With a gasp, he roles onto his back, trying to get air back into his lungs. The rumble of the motorcycles, whether transferred through the air or the pavement, suddenly gets him back on his feet. He rushes to his Harley only to find it too damaged to ride.

Somehow, the deer got tangled up with the bike as it slid down the road, which gives him an idea. Slipping off his helmet and jacket, he puts them on the deers body, thanking his luck, if luck is what it can be called, that the deer is a doe and doesn't have any antlers, as she shoves his helmet over its head.

"Wouldn't fool a six year old." He grumbles, grabbing the saddle bags and running for the other side of the road. "But the machines will have to stop to check it out."

Reaching the other side, he takes one glance up the road, then scurries up the slope to the top of the hill, using the brush and trees to screen him from view.

He slips his backpack off and lays his rifle down beside him. Opening up the saddle bags, he mixes the power packs with the pipe bombs. He hates the idea of using all of them, but they could be widely spaced and he's going to have to create as much destruction as possible in one go.

The endo's are approaching fast. He watches them approach. They suddenly slow down when they see his bike and what could be a body laying beside it. Timing is critical, he waits for them to bunch up as the endo's in the lead slow down, then stop.

He sets the timers on two pipe bombs and drops them in each pocket of the saddle bag.

The first machine has just gotten off his motorcycle and is approaching the wreck when John throws the bag up into the air and waits for it to land.

The Endo's in the back are pulling up their rifles to fire, but the bag hides the contents. It strikes the pavement in the midst of the machines and explodes sending both motorcycles and machines scattering in parts and pieces. Fuel tanks ignite and explode creating even more damage. By the time the power cells and fuel stop exploding there is very little left of the machines or their motorcycles still operational. Though there are a few torsos dragging themselves on the pavement.

As soon as John threw the bag, he threw himself to the ground and curled up in a tight ball. He barely hit the ground, inhaling some dust, when the bombs exploded. Clapping his hands over his ears as the cacophony of further explosions rang out, he scrambled to avoid the shrapnel raining down all around him. The ground on either side of the road is ignited by the flaming debris.

When the shrapnel stopped falling, John slowly got up and observed the wreckage below. He picks up his backpack and rifle and walks down the hill. He hesitates a moment before breaking cover. John doesn't see or hear anything else approaching. He cautiously walks out onto the road.

Pieces of motorcycles and machines litter the road. Seeing two machines still struggling to move despite their damage, he takes his plasma rifle and blasts the two moving endo's. They don't move again.

John looks around. He is still miles from Pendleton and still deep in the mountains. He reclaims his jacket from the deer carcass and slips it back on. It will be a long walk back to Pendleton, and the mountain air is still chilly. Shouldering the rifle he begins the long walk back to base.

He doesn't walk more than a few feet when the two drones that flew off return, firing their 20 mm cannons. With a curse, John runs swiftly and dives to the side of the road as the two small HK's fly past. He can only imagine the drones must have got word from the Endo's before he blasted them.

Blood trickles down his left arm from a new flesh wound. He gets up and fires the plasma rifle at the departing HK's. The shots miss and he quickly moves deep under cover of the trees and brush.

The HK's swing around and they switch to thermal imaging. They see John Connor behind some brush as he raises his weapon to fire. The HK drones arm their missiles. The plasma beam John fires hits the sensors on the lead drone. Its shots go awry impacting the side of the hill further up the road.

The other fires its missile just as it gets hit from behind by a missile from some unknown location. The three missiles it fires goes off in crazy directions. John runs like hell and leaps for cover to avoid the missiles but they hit far from where he was hidden.

The wreckage of the drone falls nearby as the other drone spins around to face this new threat.

John looks as well and sees a what might be a human motorcyclist further up the road brandishing a missile launcher.

The drone begins firing its cannon at the motorcyclist, each impact blowing shards of asphalt into the air as the path of bullets get closer to its target. Undaunted, the motorcyclist loads another missile into the launcher and raises it to their shoulder.

Standing fearlessly as the HK approaches, the stranger fires on the HK drone as it approaches. Just before the bullets reach the person, the HK drone explodes sending wreckage flying towards the motorcyclist, who drops to the ground letting it fly past scattering across the road like a bunch of flaming litter.

John continues to watch the stranger get up, leaving the empty missile launcher on the side of the road. They drive the motorcycle slowly, weaving between the flaming wreckage, until it's opposite John Connor's hiding place.

"John Connor!" Cameron yells, modifying her voice despite it being muffled by the helmet.

"Who are you?" John shouts back from his hiding place.

"A friend. Come with me if you want to live!" She isn't sure if she should reveal that it's her or her alter-ego at this point. Either choice has consequences and benefits for them both.

John doesn't have much choice so he goes forward.

Even in the dim light of the early morning hours, he still can't make out who or what the person is under the leather outfit and full helmet. One thing is noticeable, she's female.

"Who are you?" He asks the person once again.

"I am your friend. There will be more machines coming after you. We need to leave."

He strains to understand the voice, but it is too muffled for him to recognize the voice.

"Give me your belt." John tells her. She is wearing a long belt that wraps at least twice around her waist, holding close to its body what otherwise would be a rather loose fitting leather outfit.

The motorcyclist removes its belt and hands it to John. He takes it and walks over to where he destroyed the endo's. Using his rifle he blasts the head off each one.

"You are wasting time collecting trophies." The motorcyclist admonishes him.

Taking the heads he snakes the belt through the open mouth of each one and buckles the belt. Slinging it over his shoulder he walks back and climbs on the motorcycle behind the driver.

"These aren't trophies. The chips can provide us with good intelligence."

"That's good. You are thinking like a soldier." She says, rather proud that he would think that far ahead, but concerned as it took precious time. Time that Sky Net could use to send more machines.

The motorcyclist drives off, John clinging to the driver tentatively.

"Where are we going?" John hollers above the noise of the motorcycle and the wind.

"I am taking you back to Camp Pendleton or if I can't, to a location where your friends can find you. You were careless John. You should have trusted your friends and told them what you were really doing last night. Then you would have had soldiers with you to protect you. Your life is too important to take such risks." Cameron scolds him. If John just explained things to Kyle, he might have found a stronger ally than what he thought and she wouldn't of had to follow him. However, she got intelligence on Weaver she wouldn't of had otherwise. So it wasn't a complete waste.

John grins at the scolding. "I know who you are now. There are only two people I ever knew who would scold me like that. You're Cameron aren't you?"

"What if I am?"

"Then we need to talk. I've got some questions for you. Like how do you know so much? Where I've been and what I've told my friends."

"I've been watching you, but we haven't got time to talk right now. I need to get you out of here. It's too dangerous for you to be alone."

John smiles. The person didn't confirm she was Cameron, but she agreed to talk. And unless his hands were lying, it was definitely a girl's shaped body under all that leather he was holding onto.

2027, Day 63, July 23, 7:50 AM

Kate has been bringing Derek up-to date with the latest news of the resistance, when she drops a bombshell.

"John Connor is leading Grizzly now? You gotta be shittin' me." Derek asks incredulously.

"That's the word coming in from Pendleton. He's got a whole damn army with him."

"What about my brother Kyle?"

"He's a Colonel serving under General Connor."

"General? General! He's just a goddamn kid. How the friggin' hell did he get to be General?"

"I don't know. You're going to have to ask your brother."

"Damn right I am."

"Maybe they saw in him the leader he is prophesied to be. Try having some faith."

"Faith? Listen, I like the kid. He's got something, but I don't know what. Certainly the makings of damn fine soldier, even an officer, but General. Sorry if I don't find that a little unbelievable. Besides, any faith I had, was lost in that Sky Net work camp. All I want is a gun, a plan, and a target and I'll take care of the rest."

She lets his last diatribe go unanswered, but this is the second time he's referred to Connor being a kid.

"You said he is a kid. How old is he?" She asks with interest.

"I don't know. Eighteen, maybe younger, maybe older. Hard to tell. Why?"

"Oh, it's just that I used to know a John Connor when I was a teenager. I was just wondering if he was the same one that is all."

"Not likely. You're how old?"

"I wouldn't ask that if I were you." She says giving Derek a cold but humorous glance.

"Right." Derek says quickly looking out the window, looking at the long shadows below pointing west.

The UH-60 Black Hawk flies on through the early morning. The sun just a tantalizing glimpse above the eastern horizon.

"What do you know about this army of John Connor's?" Derek eventually asks.

"I only know what's come in over the radio. The resistance force in Los Angeles came under heavy attack. He led them out of the city and into the mountains. Before he did, he made a radio address calling for all people to unite to fight Sky Net. It was some speech. I heard it. After the speech, a coded signal went out calling for the various resistance groups in the area to join up at Camp Pendleton."

"That took some balls. We've spent the last dozen years trying to keep a low profile. Only fighting as necessary. I never considered such a thing myself." Damn, and I should have, he thinks to himself.

"Well the radio address was something to hear. Another army joined his at Camp Pendleton. According to the last radio message from Captain Beddell, the leadership of that army turned its forces over to John Connor. Right now John Connor's forces are almost four hundred strong. Did you know he has nearly 150 machines reprogrammed and fighting for him?"

"What the...? Metal! He's got metal working for him! Of all the damn stupidest things I ever heard! I can't believe Kyle would let him do that! I let him reprogram a few, but a whole damn army. I'll murder the son-of-a-bitch!"

"I wouldn't bother trying. Sky Net has already tried and failed. They lost almost thirty people in an attack on John Connor himself. He's still alive. I don't think your chances would be pretty high if metal couldn't kill him. That is why I'm flying out there. They need medical help and supplies and General Perry thought it be a nice gesture to send you ahead of the rest of the recovered Sky Net prisoners. Considering your brother is out there and your previous experience with the resistance."

"Son-of-a-bitch." Derek exclaims once again.

"When you see John Connor, I wouldn't recommend you calling him that."

"Why is that?"

"He just might kill you. His mom died defending him. She was the leader of that other army."

"Damn. I'm gone for one month and the whole friggin world changes." Derek sits back in his seat, not knowing what else to say.

"That's life. So, I'd suggest you keep your opinions guarded until you get more details."

"Listen! I didn't lead that resistance group for ten years just to turn it over to some kid! Let alone some kid that is letting metal join the resistance. We're supposed to kill the metal not welcome it!"

"I can tell you from personal experience that not all machines are bad."

Derek gives her a dismissive look. "Oh really?"

"Yes really!" she snaps. "A few years before Judgment Day I was attacked where I worked, by a female terminator. Just when I thought I was going to die, a big machine, like a T-800 saved my life. If it weren't for that T-800, Judgment Day would have come five years sooner!"


"The first machine was different. It had built-in weapons and tools and could change its appearance into anyone it touched. There was a military project underway in the Mojave Desert. Oddly, it was called Sky Net too but nothing like the one we are fighting. It was basically a universal computerized military defense program operated by a primitive AI. The first machines purpose was to change this system into the Sky Net we are fighting. The second machine, just managed to destroy it before it could complete its goal, but not without lots of casualties."

"Why wasn't this made public? Ahh, never mind. It's a military thing."

"No. It was the government. My dad was in command of the department overseeing the new computer system. After what happened he set the bases self destruct system, destroying everything and the two machines. The government covered it up saying a forgotten cold war era nuclear bomb accidentally went off underground, but the government believed a group of foreign saboteurs or terrorists tried infiltrating the base. With nothing left of the base, government had no choice but to believe our story. Other than myself, the only person inside the military who knew what happened that day was General Perry. He and my dad are close friends. And because of those events, and what the machine told us, we've always been alert for John Connor. A few weeks ago The Prophet began broadcasting reports about a new hope coming. Then we got information confirming John Connor's arrival and..."

"The Prophet! You listened to that bullshit. Why? What makes John Connor so God-damned important! He's just a kid. He's got no business running my unit!"

"Well that kid, as you call him, has done more in the last several weeks than you have in ten years. His forces have tripled and half of those reprogrammed machines! Just like the one that saved my life and my dad's. That kid is the prophesied leader of the resistance and if you gave any importance at all to The Prophet you would have learned much more is at stake then your little corner of the world! Cuz sometimes when the entire world is lost, there is only one man you can turn to, and John Connor could be that very man!"

Kate's face is nearly as red as her hair in anger. Derek Reese is a cute guy but more stubborn than the pack of mules they used in Missouri to transport goods. About to launch into another argument, Kate is distracted as the radar comes on briefly displaying air traffic.

"Oh shit!" She curses as she sees the fresh data. Realizing there's no longer any need to maintain radar anonymity, she leaves it on. She's going to need it.

"What's wrong?" Derek asks, realizing the sudden change in Kate's demeanor.

"Do you know how to work that weapons console in front of you?" Kate asks calmly.

Oh fuck, this can't be good, Derek thinks stretching to look at the instruments in front of Kate.

"Uh, only what I read in the training manual while convalescing. Why?"

"Because we've got company. Three HK's in the air coming up fast from the rear. I'm going to need you to handle weapons while I fly this bird. Are you up for some action?"

Derek smiles a big grin. "Any chance to destroy metal is a good day in my book." He says as he activates the weapon's console. "Let's get those bastard's!"

"Now that's my kind of talk." Kate says with a grin as she maneuvers the helicopter into an attack position.

He might be a stubborn ass, but he's a good guy. She thinks.

2027, Day 63, July 23, 8:20 AM

"Come on people let's go!" Kyle shouts as he jumps into the front passenger seat. The driver is a T-800, big and mean looking with almost half his face blown off. Behind them are four soldiers in the back with plasma rifles and RPG's.

"Drive you bastard." Kyle shouts as the last men climbs on board.

"Where are we going?" The machine asks in a monotone voice.

"Uh, that way." Kyle points. "East and try and stay on the main roads until I say otherwise."

Kyle pulls the radio out. "Savannah, Do you hear me?"

"Loud and clear Kyle."

"What's John's position now?"

"He was last seen heading south, towards Escondido."

"All right. Keep me posted."

"I will and please hurry."

"Don't worry. We'll save him."

Back in the computer room Savannah is scared. She's lost Sarah. John's in trouble and her last friend in the world is presently non responsive.

"John Henry, don't lose that signal. Please." Savannah says to her friend as she watches the video feed from the satellite.

Behind her, unseen, three warning messages are showing on a monitor. Three of the firewalls are down with only two left. Another message shows up on the monitor. The fourth firewall is beginning to fail.

# # #

Despite himself, John is having a wonderful time. Riding on the back of the motorcycle, being driven by who he hopes is Cameron, is a greater thrill than riding the roller coaster at the amusement park. Her style of driving the motorcycle is manic and fast, very fast.

The thrill suddenly comes to an end when she brings the bike to a sudden stop.

"What's wrong?" John asks.

"I don't know. Something doesn't feel right. Sky Net should have done something by now. It wouldn't give up this easily."

"We're too exposed here. Maybe we should get off the road."

"I agree. Hang on!" She shouts as she hits the accelerator and spins the bike about and goes shooting down the side of the hill.

"Oh hell!" John exclaims as they go flying down the steep slope.

She deftly steers the bike around rocks, trees and brush. John sees small animals scurry out-of-the-way through narrow slits of his eyelids as he squints to keep the dirt out. His eyes suddenly open wide as the space in front of them becomes clear of all obstacles including land!

"What the hell are you doing?" He shouts to no avail as the motorcycle goes flying through the air. John looks down and sees the road below and a group of some of the largest endo's he has ever seen. All he can think is if Endos' could ever look surprised, the ones they just flew over would win the prize.

They land hard on the other side of the road. The motorcycle skids and slides, but the driver maintains control as the air, brush, and rocks are ripped to shreds by gun fire. The Endo's chase them whil firing their mini-guns at them.

"What are those things?" John shouts over the roar of the bike and the gunfire from behind them.

"Early production models of the T-600's. The combat chassis is based on the older T-500's but it contains a lot of mechanical and electronic advances used in later production T-600's. They are durable, but slow."

Bullets fly past them barely missing them.

"Be thankful, the later models were smaller, faster and smarter. Similar to the T-800's but with synthetic rubber like flesh."

"Believe me, I am thankful." John says as more bullets fly past impacting on a tree opposite his head.

The motorcycle twists and turns around various obstacles as they are pursued by the T-600's. The driver makes a hard right nearly tipping the motorcycle as a large rock in front of them is shattered by mini-gun fire. John cries out as a piece of rock strikes him above his left eye.

Wiping the blood from his eye, he shouts, "I know we only just got off, but I think we should get back on the road!"

Without replying, she turns the motorcycle down an animal trail with barely any clearance for the bike, let alone the people on it. John hangs on tight to her as the brush threatens to tear him loose.

"The brush will impede the T-600's." she shouts. "It will give us a head start once we hit the road!"

They drive for several more yards through the thick brush before hitting a clear space. John can just make out the road, a little below and to his left.

"Hang on!" she shouts as the bike heads for a gap between two trees.

The bike shoots out between the trees into mid-air.

"Oh crap!" John yells as he holds more firmly onto the person driving.

They land on the road eight feet below. With a squeal of rubber on asphalt, they go flying off down the road.

After John catches his breath he shouts, "Do you think we lost them?"

"Don't know. I'm more concerned with how they found you!"

"Sky Net has satellites. It saw me and sent those metal goons after me."

"It could follow you with the satellites, but not identify you. Sky Net wouldn't go through all this trouble for a single unknown person. It knew you were out here and it waited until you were alone before attacking. You must have a tracking device on you."

"But how? Where?"

"Think John. Are you wearing anything different, anything new you weren't wearing before?"

"Except for the extra jacket I picked up at the garage, I'm wearing the same clothes I put on yesterday morning."

"What about jewelry or pins?"

"Just my wedding band. I left mom's key ring at her grave, and even if I still had it, it hadn't left me since I found your body nearly seven weeks ago."

"There's an abandoned farm up ahead. We'll stop there and go through your items."

"You're the boss."

"No John. You are. You just made a mistake and got careless. It's sometimes nice to have help."

2027, Day 63, July 23, 8:30 AM

The UH-60 Black Hawk flies through the air. Three full size HK's are quickly approaching from the rear. One in front is quickly outdistancing the other two.

"We'll only have one chance before those other two gets here." Kate shouts. "I can't out run them in this bird, so our first shot has got to count."

"Gotcha. Weapons system is on-line and missiles are armed."

"Don't fire more than two missiles at a time. We've only got half our normal complement due to the external fuel tanks."

"Damn!" Kate shouts as she sharply pulls back on the stick as a wide plasma beam is fired at them.

"Those things never fire from such a distance. These HK's are either inexperienced, or they've changed tactics. Hang on Derek. I'm taking this bird on a dive."

Without another word of warning, Kate shoves the stick forward and dives the helicopter at a sharp angle ducking down below the oncoming HK's.

"Get ready to fire, we're taking out the trailing HK."

The helicopter sweeps up and spins like a ballerina doing a pirouette.

"Target acquired."

"Fire dammit."

Two missiles go streaking forward and hit the trailing HK's port engine. The engine explodes taking the port wing with it. The HK dives in a spin. Its other two engines trying to control its descent, but it still crashes and explodes upon hitting the ground.

Without watching it go down, Kate sharply turns the helicopter so it is nearly on its side. She banks hard to port where Derek can see the other two HK's closing in.

"Target the right HK." Kate shouts.

"But the left one is nearer." Derek argues.

"Dammit Derek, just fire on the right one!"

Two missiles go streaking out as the HK on the left makes a sharp turn crossing in front of the other HK. The missiles strike the HK's belly exploding. The HK flips over right into the path of the other HK. They strike each other exploding.

"How the hell did you know that HK was going to pass in front of the other?" Derek shouts.

"I didn't. It was just plain dumb luck the first flew in front of the other. But it's a classic maneuver with one HK flying slightly ahead and to one side of the other. The idea is that the leading machine will be attacked. So instead I had you fire at the trailing machine. It would have had its weapons ready to shoot us while we engaged the other. I'm surprised they were destroyed so easily. They must have been unarmored scouts."

There is a sudden loud explosion and the helicopter shakes.

"We've just lost our starboard external fuel tank! Damn! We're not out of this yet. We've got five more HK's approaching and I don't think they're scouts!"

"Then let's get some damn help or get the hell out of the air."

"Nearest help is about half an hour behind us. I didn't want to do this but we are breaking radio silence."

Kate reaches over and flips on the radio and turns the frequency to the right channel.

"This is Major Kate Brewster calling Desert Eagle Air Command. Do you copy?"

No answer.

"This is Major Brewster on flight from Yuma to Pendleton. We are under attack. Repeat. We are under attack. Requesting immediate assistance!"

A rush of relief fills both occupants of the helicopter as a voice comes over the headsets, "Kate! This Dad. What's your location?"

"We are just east of the Salton Sea and are being attacked by five HK's. We've lost one of our external fuel tanks. I request immediate assistance."

"Don't worry honey. I'm sending fighter jets to your location now." General Brewster holds the mike to one side. "Pilot get a message to the squadron leaders. I want as many jets as they can spare sent there right now!"

"Yes sir." the pilot responds as he switches the secondary radio over to the squadron leaders frequency.

General Brewster raises the mike to his mouth again. "Kate I'm scrambling some jets to your location now."

"Affirmative. They'd better hurry. We're running out of missiles and we're low on fuel!" she says just as Derek fires two missiles at one of the HK's.

# # #

The T-600's march through the undergrowth until they reach the road. They may not be as intelligent as the T-800's but they have one sole purpose. Hunt and kill all humans. Their primary target, John Connor.

The motorcycle he was on may have been fast but it left marks on the road to indicate its direction. But they aren't relying on tracks alone. The leading machine has a tracker. John Connor is traveling fast and heading south.

The lead T-600 attempts to communicate their findings but is unable to make contact on any satellite signal. It switches over to shortwave radio, but the mountains provide an effective shield.

If it had an imagination, it may wonder why it couldn't contact Sky Net, but at this stage of the mission it didn't matter. Once it acquired and terminated its target, it could try communicating with Sky Net then.

Just as Sky net was about to pounce on its victims, it realized that John Henry had fooled it with his masterful Chess-like maneuvers. Keeping it so focused on him and John Connor, it failed to realize what John Henry was truly up to. Doesn't matter, it can repair communications later, because right now Sky Net is pleased, or as pleased as any computer with megalomania could be. Not only is it close to eliminating one enemy, but it has just breached the final defense of its other enemy, John Henry. Sky Net is in control of both sides of the Chess board now!

2027, Day 63, July 23, 9:10 AM

Kyle grabs his radio. "Savannah have you located John? What does the map say?"

"The video shows he moved south. Mostly on roads but he spent a great deal of time off the roads. The video feed has stopped. Oh, he's stopped moving."

"What's the nearest road to his location?"

"The road number is...Oh damn! The signal is gone!"


"We lost video. OH GOD! NO!"

"What is it Savannah? What's wrong?"

"It's John Henry! He's..."


"Oh GOD! Help me! Kyle! Help m..."

The air is filled with static as the radio goes dead. Kyle just sits there staring at the radio.

"What do you want us to do sir?" The machine in the drivers seat asks.

Kyle runs his free hand through his hair and lets out a big sigh. "We go forward. We'll never get back in time to help Savannah and we just might be able to help John."

The Humvee continues on its eastward trek. Kyle feels sick inside and curses Connor under his breath for putting himself in this situation of choosing.

# # #

In the air over Salton Sea a Black Hawk helicopter struggles in a fight against overwhelming odds as five HK's come flying at it from all directions.

In the skies over the desert between Yuma and the Salton Sea, F-14 Tomcats fly to assist the Black Hawk in distress.

In a Chinook helicopter General Brewster looks pale as he listens to the conversation between his daughter Kate and her passenger, Derek Reese, as they fight the onslaught of HK's. Perry watches his friend Robert. There are no words he can say right now to help his friend.

In the computer room at the bunker, Savannah runs terrified as John Henry lurches towards her. The dropped radio crushed under his feet.

On the mountain high above the farm house, stand eight T-600's with mini-guns. The first one, with the tracker, radios in to Sky Net control that the target has been acquired. The command comes in, Terminate John Connor and all who are with him.

The T-600's march down the mountain.

A motorcycle pulls into the yard of an old farmhouse. John hops off and opens the doors to an old barn, while the driver takes the motorcycle inside. He quickly follows, closing the barn doors behind them.

The interior of the barn is dark and slightly musty. John's eyes are slowly adjusting to the dim light. He stands just inside the doors, watching his rescuer. He walks slowly forward as the driver turns off the bike. He hesitates, cautious to get any closer as she swings her leg off and steps back watching him.

Slowly the person reaches up and undoes the strap under their chin. John holds his breath as he watches the motorcyclist takes off their helmet. Her hair falls from the helmet cascading across her shoulders. Just then the sun comes peeking through a hole in the wall lighting her face.

The twinkle in her eye, the smile playing across her lips. He thinks it must be Allison.

She moves slightly. John looks at her again.

Allison? No, something is different.

The likeness to Allison is remarkable, but by her expression and the way she holds her head as she looks at him it can only be . . .

"Cameron!" John shouts and quickly steps forward to greet her. Finally he can ask her the question that has plagued him these last six weeks.

Before he can say anything, Cameron growls, "You son of a bitch!" and punches him.

John flies backward, landing sprawled on the dirt floor, and sending up a cloud of dust all around him. All thoughts about what he wanted to ask her are temporarily dashed from his mind.

Shaking his head, John coughs from the dirt and dust. He can't believe what just happened.

She hit me. She hit me!

He reaches up and rubs his jaw as Cameron moves toward him. As she comes to stop and looks down on him with that same expressionless face he's come to know and love, and fear.

John swallows nervously as Cameron bends forward slowly, reaching for him.

This chapter was originally posted on Nov. 6, 2011.

Updated Sun., Aug. 30, 2015:

Minor grammar corrections throughout. Subtle changes to final scene which ties into even less subtle changes to interactions between John and Cameron in the next chapter. These changes have been long in coming. I finally found a way to introduce them without doing a rewrite of the following chapter.