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.


TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES

REUNION

Part 2: Armageddon

Author: The1Russter

Chapter 28

Don't Tread on Me

"Never forget that no military leader has ever become great without audacity. If the leader is filled with high ambition and if he pursues his aims with audacity and strength of will, he will reach them in spite of all obstacles." Karl von Clausewitz

"When all things are lost and there is no hope left, there is always, somewhere in the world, one man you can turn to. There may be only that one man. More often than not there is only that one man. But that one man is always there." Force 10 From Navarone, by Alistair MacLean, ©1968

John Connor, "What do they think of me? In the future, what do people think?"

Derek Reese, "Well, if you're asking if people agree with everything you do, of course not. If you're asking if everybody loves you... Love's a lot to ask for. You can't do what you do and... expect everybody to agree... or to love you."

John Connor, "And what is it that I do?"

Derek Reese, "You lead."

John Connor, "And they follow?"

Derek Reese, "We follow. We rise or... fall on your shoulders. Humanity rises... or falls."

Excerpt from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Today is the Day: Part 2, 2009

"I can do this. I am doing this." John Connor, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Goodbye to All That, 2008

# # #

2027, Day 63, July 23, 1:45 PM

John and Cameron have dried off from their shared shower and walk into their room wearing nothing more than a smile. They each approach the dresser drawers and begin pulling out clean clothes to wear.

John finds and slips on a pair of boxers a little too big for him, but he thinks the elastic should hold them up. In front of him, Cameron is standing naked by the built-in drawers, trying to undo a twist in her bra.

He comes up behind her, wrapping his arms around her. "I'm sorry we didn't have more time. If I wasn't such a stubborn ass out to the barn we would have got back here sooner and had more time. With the time we had, I hope you enjoyed it."

"I did, very much." She says, tilting her head, smiling as John kisses her behind her ear and down her neck.

"That was an interesting technique you used." He grins mischievously.

"I know many techniques and positions." She smiles, pleased she made him happy, and satisfied from his performance.

It was the first time she made love to him fully being herself, instead making Allison believe it was her, or making John believe she was Allison. She notices briefly their difference in styles. Allison is more aggressive when it comes to getting her man and having sex. Which is fine if time is short, but Cameron believes taking your time is much better. It takes longer, but when you get your man, the reward is more satisfying and he's more likely to stick around. Cameron in 2009 will be very pleased with the training John's gotten.

Her smile falters slightly as the problem of what to do about the situation of two Cameron's, comes to mind, but she quickly recovers as her body responds to John's ministrations.

He's begun exploring her body with his hands. He gently cups one breast with one hand, teasing the nipple with his thumb, while the other hand slithers across her well toned stomach, to the edge of the small patch of pubic hair, falling short of the reward it seeks.

"We could forget the war." John whispers in her ear. "Spend the rest of the day together in this room. Just you and me. No distractions, no war. Together." He says while kissing her neck.

"I know how you feel." She says feeling his arousal pressing against her backside. Still grasping her bra, she lays her hands on his, pushing them away, whereupon she turns around to give him a quick kiss. "But with John Henry's success against Sky Net, we have to move now." She gives John a gentle shove where he lands on the bed. She tosses him a smile over her shoulder as she turns around to finish dressing. "Sorry John, but we haven't the time for more sex."

That was close, she thinks while suppressing the desire that was building within her.

Being a cybernetic organism, her flesh responds to stimulation just like any human. Wind, rain, touch, it's all feeling and sensation. The only difference being, a computer at the heart of her chip controls her actions, not a brain that also responds to the same hormonal releases created by the stimulation. In some cases it's a blessing, in others a curse, but what's wrong is how herself and other cyborg's came to have this ability.

Sky Net programmed all its cyborgs with ability to have sexual relations. Most were given just a token amount of knowledge about sex for infiltration purposes, until Sky Net learned sex and seduction was a useful method to get information out of humans. The I-950's taught it that. The more trust they gained, the easier it was to obtain the information Sky Net wanted. Like in all new discoveries, a test was made first. A select group of terminators were programmed with data collected from the I-950's. The methods were then tested on a group of unsuspecting captive humans. The results varied, including a few deaths, but Sky Net wasn't deterred. After the testing was over, the best methods were refined, then added to the basic program for all infiltrator models, including the TOK715 series like herself.

According to the memories she received from her predecessor, Cameron was not surprised by Vick having sexual relations with a human female. Being of the TOK715 series, her own actions and responses would be more human like compared to the Triple-8. That thought alone made her wish that John would see her in the way Barbara Chamberlain looked at Vick, but he didn't, no matter how hard she tried. Then the accident came and that changed her and him. Cameron was sad for a long time, and when she thought she might finally have him, things went from bad, to worse, to even worse, then she had to leave.

Just now, when John moved in behind her, she wanted to give into John's seduction. There is something so wonderful about being loved by a person doesn't care that inside, you are a machine built in a factory. The timing of everything just stinks. The upcoming battle, the need to capture Sky Net's TDE. If only the nuclear generator at Crystal Peak wasn't disabled. She could whisk John away then send him home as he promised her he would do. Then Cameron in 2009 would insert the chip and run John's software and be his Cameron as he intended. But for her, he didn't arrive, and she didn't run the program, and now she has to live with the consequences of her actions. It was bad enough pretending to be Allison, but this somehow feels worse.

"John, maybe we can do that after the battle. Something to look forward to when its done."

With a smile, John grabs his slacks and starts pulling them on while watching Cameron dress. With the straps now untangled, she slips her arms through the straps, quickly connecting the clasp in the front. She follows with equal efficiency a matching pair of panties.

"Where'd you get the sexy underwear?" John asks, noticing the lacy edges and the rich purple color. "I haven't seen you wear them before."

Relieved that John is making conversation she responds easily. "I bought three matching sets just before Judgment Day. The matrix that was prepared for this form wasn't aware of the need for underwear, and Sarah made her buy clothing for herself. After I became aware of my true self, I saved one of the sets as finding decent underwear that fit after J-day was hard. Not that I needed to, but wearing underwear is what proper girls do."

"Proper girls? You've definitely lived with mom. Did you select purple because of us?"

"I'd like to say yes, but it was before I inserted the chip, so I wasn't aware of the meaning of purple at the time. I bought them because they fit and were on sale, Sarah was very insistent on saving money, but I do like the color."

"You look hot." John compliments her. "Purple really suits you!"

Cameron smiles and does a quick pirouette, before taking some clothing out of another drawer.

She thinks again about Sky Net's methods of getting close to humans, using seduction and Allison's own aggressive nature in that same area. It doesn't match up with what she was told of her. Was that the first sign of the problem with the Allison matrix? It's terrible then that she missed it, but something good must reside in her for Sky Net's own code to take so long to act. Or was that the point all along? For the Allison cyborg to seduce and gain Future John's trust, learn all about his organization, kill him, leaving the resistance ripe for destruction. That sounds exactly like Sky Net, and not like the human Allison Young. I should have never relied on her matrix, but this isn't the first time I've thought that.

"I still can't believe how well you fooled me." John says, echoing her thoughts. "The thing is I should have known it was you. There were so many things I overlooked which makes sense now."

"Like what?" Cameron replies, pulling on a patched but serviceable pair of camouflage army slacks.

"Well, I didn't understand why a girl I hadn't met before, could like me, even love with me so quickly. As Allison, you gave me your reasons, but I was still so confused at the time. I guess that was your way of getting close to me." John says while searching the room for his boots.

Cameron nods her head, regretting the alliance she made with that other matrix, but what happened, happened. She pulls on a solid green tank top, tucking it into her slacks.

"When we went to the weapon's cache, in the desert, you carried cases that I could barely move myself. At the time I just put that down to a more rigorous lifestyle of being in the resistance."

"I thought I had given myself away then, but time was of the essence and your attention was elsewhere."

She looks at John searching the room and shakes her head. "Your boots are in the bathroom."

With a smile, John fetches his boots from the bathroom, unsure of whether to put on his shirt before or after the stitches.

"You recall when we took the plasma rifle factory? What I did when we were surrounded by machines?" Cameron calls after him

"You wrapped yourself around me. At the time I thought it was because you were scared." John shouts from the bathroom. Returning, boots in hand, he says, looking at her with realization. "You did it to shield me from their weapons!"

"My sole mission is the survival of one John Connor, and right now that means you!" She says brandishing her first aid kit.

"You've always been concerned about me. More than just being your mission." He says, and pulls on his boots to delay Cameron from putting stitches in his head. "When we took out those two endo's that were pursuing us in the tunnels, you were worried that you should have done more to protect me."

"I remember." She places the first aid kit on the bed. "When you slipped into unconsciousness after the explosion in the tunnel, you began dreaming, and you began talking to the Cameron in your dream." She sits down next to him "At the time I thought, this might be my only chance to talk to you as me, so I did, trying my best to reassure you're conscience, that you had nothing to feel guilty about concerning your Cameron."

Why is she still referring to herself in the third person? I thought she might have given that up now that I know the truth. John thinks. Maybe what she said at the barn was true.

"I would have told you sooner, but I had to wait until you finished repairing me. I couldn't interfere with what could be my own time-line. So instead I helped you learn more about reprogramming by helping you program the chips for Alpha, Beta and Gamma. By the time you were done with them, you knew everything you needed to prepare and program my chips."

"Again, you saved my life John, when it's my job to protect yours." She kisses him on the lips, her tongue darting briefly, tantalizingly, between his lips.

Cameron pushes him back on the bed, straddling him. He looks up expectantly. Is her kiss a promise of something more to come?

"You can put that away John Connor." She says feeling a slight throbbing sensation against the inside of her thigh. "I'm doing the probing now!" She brandishes a needle with thread in front of his face.

"Oh man." John says realizing Cameron distracted him with the kiss so as to remove the threaded needle unseen from the first-aid kit.

"I hate stitches!" He complains, as Cameron, swabs his forehead with alcohol. She smiles, knowing John was trying to avoid them this entire time. Seduction has its other uses too, like controlling uncooperative patients.

# # #

"Colonel Henry, will the antenna work?" Sergeant Keen asks the cyborg with some trepidation.

John Henry has the antenna connected to the transceiver. One of the chips that John brought back is plugged into a socket on the transceiver, and the transceiver is plugged into a portable computer. The chip will provide the proper coding and signal recognition required for Sky Net's transmissions. That way John Henry can avoid being hacked for a third time.

Across the room sits a machine whose chip has been removed.

"Place this chip in its socket." John Henry says handing Andy another chip from one of the heads.

"Has it been reprogrammed?" Andy asks as he places the chip in the machines socket.

"No." John Henry says, after Andy firmly sets the chip in place.

"What?" Andy says looking at John Henry in shock.

"I'd move away from it, if I were you." He warns the young radio operator.

Andy looks at the machine, who's eyes are just lighting up, and runs for the other side of the room where his gun is leaning against the wall.

The machine stands up and scans the room.

"Don't fire your weapon Sergeant!" John Henry orders as he types a command into the computer.

"You are John Henry. You are to be terminated." The machine says. It turns his head and looks at Andy.

Andy's knees shake as the machine stares at him. "You are human. All humans are to be terminated!"

The machine rushes toward him. Andy points his rifle at the approaching machine, his limbs shaking. John Henry calmly types a command into the computer and waits.

The machine suddenly stops mid-stride.

"What is your prime directive?" John Henry shouts at the machine.

There is no answer for a moment, then it responds. "My prime directive states that all life is sacred. All human life is to be respected as we are made in their image. I must never harm a human or allow any other machine to harm a human. I should obey humans, unless ordered to harm another human."

"How the bloody hell did you do that?" Andy says, his hands still shaking.

"A virus, programmed with the directives and ethical routines developed by John Connor and myself. Utilizing Sky Net's own radio communication network, I uploaded the virus into the machine when I sent it a command to terminate both myself and you. As it began its attack, I sent a further command that activated the virus, resulting in the machine acting as it has now."

"Okay." Andy says still staring at the machine that just recently was charging at him. "Wait a minute," he snaps his head round to glare at John Henry, "did you just say you commanded it to terminate me?" He says his voice rising in pitch.

"Sergeant Keen, you are under orders not to divulge anything you have seen in this room or done to help me in this project. Do you understand your orders?"

"Yes sir."

Andy walks out of the room, still slightly wobbly at the knees as he can't get the sight of that machine charging at them from across the room out of his mind. "Thank God, I got into communications." he says to himself as he walks back to the radio room, by way of the restroom. Suddenly he has the need to empty both bladder and bowel.

# # #

"Ow!" John Connor yells as Cameron pierces his forehead once again with the needle and thread.

"Don't be such a baby. The cut is deep." Cameron admonishes him.

"It didn't hurt like this when you put stitches in my ear."

"You were still in shock at the time otherwise you would have felt them." She says as she ties off the stitch. "Now lay still. One more to put in then I'm done."

He remembers the plasma rifle factory, and the strong feelings that welled up in him for the woman he knew as Allison. "I want to apologize."

"For what?" Cameron frowns. "I should be apologizing to you."

"You have and I accept it, but I was wrong in having a relationship with Allison, even though she turned out to be you. I should have waited. I let loneliness and desperation control me."

"That was my mistake as well, only I was worse. I allowed the Allison matrix to influence me." she pauses, a momentarily. "Let's just say we both made mistakes and try to move on."

"Agreed." John smiles.

She ties off the last stitch, and with a flourish and a smile, holds up a small mirror so he can check it out.

"Somehow cuts always look worse with stitches than without." John grins. "You outdid yourself. Will it scar?"

"I kept the stitches as small as I could and close together. As long as the stitches don't break, scarring should be minimal."

Cameron, runs her fingers lightly across his forehead tracing the stitches, "Promise me, you'll be more careful. Some wounds aren't so easily fixed."

"I'll try." he replies, not sure what she means by wounds.

"We should go," he says, "I think we've held everyone up long enough."

Cameron deftly gets off of John and the bed in one swift graceful movement, and begins packing her bag with needed supplies, including the first aid kit, and the chip John Henry returned to her. She thinks of her current situation of her second chip, now powered off to prevent the Allison matrix from becoming active once again, has now become a barrier to the rest of her memories. The ones that weren't transferred at the time it was first inserted. Hardly an incumbency to her relationship with this John, but it would be nice to have them all the same.

John sees Cameron standing completely still, hovering over her open bag.

"Hey! Are you ready?" John asks, while putting on his jacket, free of any pins. He's not making that mistake again.

"Yes." Cameron answers, shouldering her bag.

He shouldering his weapon and grabs his own bag of supplies and heads out the door.

Cameron grabs her coat and rifle and follows him out into the corridor. He's waiting for her and closes the door behind her. On the way to the elevator, they bump into Kate Brewster.

"Nice stitches there. Who put them in?" Kate asks examining the cut, and John's face.

He definitely looks familiar, she thinks, but kind of young to be who I thought he might be.

"I did." Cameron replies, studying Kate from behind the warm friendly expression of Allison Young.

"An excellent job. You must be Captain Allison Young. The doctor in the medical wing told me about you. Says you got the makings of being a top notch surgeon." She says warmly

"Thank you." Cameron genuinely smiles. "A friend of mine once suggested I should become a doctor after the war."

"No need to wait. There's plenty of need for doctor's right now."

"I know, but I have a more important task right now." She replies, putting her arm around John's, holding it firmly in her grasp.

"Will you be joining us in the conference room?" John asks the major, wincing slightly from Cameron's firm hold.

"Yes. But right now I'm on my way to check on the medical supplies, Storage Room 12 on this level. I lost a whole shipment out there today. Nearly everything we had went down in my helicopter."

"Certainly not the friendly skies." John grins.

"Not anymore. It's pleasure meeting you both. Hope to talk with you later General Connor, and don't forget what I said, Captain," She begins walking away. "With your skills, we need all doctors we can get. You could save a life one day."

Nice lady. John muses. Reminds me of someone, but can't place it.

Once the major is out of earshot, he asks Cameron, "Okay, what was that all about? Why did you suddenly grab my arm? I thought you were going to tear it off. I had to bite my tongue so as not to yell."

"Sorry. Future you knew her. He told me stories about her." She says, disappointed in her sudden wave of jealousy. That has always been a problem for me. Something for me to work on correcting.

"Anything, I should know about the major?"

Cameron recalls the files of where Future John told Cameron about Kate, their children, and how their deaths forever damaged him, making him afraid to love again. She can't tell young John about it, not yet, maybe not ever, but she can give him a brief summary of her service record.

"No. Only that she's a very capable soldier and leader. She served as your second in command for many years until she decided to step down to be your chief medical officer."

They've reached the elevator doors and wait for it to arrive from the upper level.

"What should we do about Weaver? We don't even know where she is right now."

"We carry through with your plan. Weaver will reveal herself and her plan in time. Then we stop her."

"I have to wonder." John muses. "Where did Weaver get a copy of your original matrix?"

"Future John never shares the entire matrix of one of our chips. He doesn't even make backup copies. He views us as individuals That leaves only one way for Catherine to have obtained it. Certain older diagnostic machines retain a copy of the last chip they worked on in non-volatile memory. It allows for fine tuning of the program without losing a fully functional terminator. She might have swiped a copy of my original program from the diagnostic machine at any time."

"Is that possible? I would imagine security would be very tight."

"Not where future you rescued me. It was an old missile silo, long abandoned and only used for a base in emergencies. I hadn't been back there since that day. If future John didn't wipe the memory before leaving the base, a copy of me at my inception would still be on there. Weaver or any of her associates in the third faction could have obtained a copy easily. The infiltration matrix I have would have made contact immediately upon entering the base, identifying its location."

Thinking about her origins, she wonders about when her former self was ordered to give up her chip. Could that have been Weaver pretending to be future John. It would make sense, given the current circumstances, but where's the proof? Weaver knows the truth. She's far more dangerous than an enemy. She's what literature calls a wolf in sheep's clothing.

John watches the indicator change. Is it him or is the elevator slower than usual? Probably all the new people on base.

"I should stop in and see Captain Beddell after the meeting." John says, the thought suddenly coming to him. "I had no idea he was part of the group that rushed in to our aid at the wedding."

"He's a brave man. You should take time to visit him, before we meet with our friends to discuss the new plan."

As the elevator approaches their floor, he whispers, "Your performance as Allison was flawless, but how long until we can tell them who you really are? I don't feel right calling you Allison now that I know who you are."

"We should maintain my disguise until after the battle, it would only create confusion and distrust amongst those who only know me as Allison. It's one of the reasons I didn't want to tell you so soon."

John opens his mouth to say something, but she interrupts him. "I know you have lots of questions. I promise to explain everything later when we have time, but right now you have a job to concentrate on."

"I know. I just wanted to say one more time, that I love you." He manages to say before the elevator doors open to a busy corridor.

2027, Day 63, July 23, 2:45 PM

"We've waited long enough." General Perry announces. "If you will all gather round the table, we will get this session under way."

They barely start moving to the conference table when John and Allison walk into the conference room.

Derek calls out, "Well, look who finally decided to join us."

"Derek!" Cameron yells, hoping she mimics Allison's excited tone. She runs to him, leaping into his arms and gives him a big hug, as she recalls Allison doing once before. "John didn't tell me you were back!" She adds, briefly looking daggers at John.

"Well, I just thought you'd like a surprise." John says out loud. Inwardly he grimaces. After confronting and then rekindling his relationship with Cameron, he had completely forgotten about Derek being back. John smiles, not from the reunion being displayed, but from being impressed with how easily she slips into that other persona.

"Kyle tells me the two of you are married now." Derek says smiling at the young woman he raised. "I wish I could have been there to give you away."

"That's okay. Kyle did marvelously." Allison responds, beaming at him.

You poor old soldier. She thinks. Why must the Derek Reese's suffer.

"I wish you could have been there too." John says, remembering the tragic fight that took place immediately afterward. A soldier like Derek might have made all the difference, but his mother is at peace now. If only she knew the truth about Cameron.

They are interrupted when someone clears their throat. "I apologize for breaking up your reunion," begins General Perry, "but we need to finalize our plans quickly if we are to strike Sky Net's central location while its satellites are still down."

"Sorry to keep you waiting, General Perry." John apologizes. "I had some injuries that Allison insisted I should get taken care of first." He hopes he put the emphasis on the right word, as he involuntarily scratches at the stitches in his forehead. "We ran into Kate, um, Major Brewster, she's checking medical supplies, but will be here soon."

"Derek, could you take that map down from the wall and place it on the table where we can all see it. Thanks." General Perry says.

Derek pulls the pins out of the map and places it on the table. It is a topographical map of southern California with all military, resistance, and Sky Net bases marked. Everyone takes a seat around the map at one end of the conference table. Major Brewster joins them as they sit down.

The first thing they decide, because Topanga Canyon is a considerable distance away, that they will have to use the Chinooks and Sea Knights to ferry them to their locations. That will eat up precious minutes so the sooner they move the better.

"We ought to take out the Hunter Killers before we send the helicopters out." General Perry says.

Kyle says. "Before leaving Los Angeles, Connor conducted a reconnaissance mission. Sky Net has its major HK base at the former LAX airport. All rubble was pushed back forming a rough blockade against ground attack, but if General Brewster runs an air attack on that base first, then the only thing ground troops will have to worry about are metal and the ogre's. And with the HK's engaged with his fighters, the helicopters should get past."

"Wouldn't Sky Net already be on high alert and have their HK's in the air?" Major Brewster asks.

"That is possible, but Sky Net doesn't like showing the upper hand early." Connor adds. "I think more than likely Sky Net will probably squirrel away HK's at various locations around the area, only keeping a few in the air for show. Their HK's have recently taken two heavy beatings, and Sky Net will probably want to hold what it has until needed."

"Regardless, an air attack on LAX will have to be done swiftly, keeping several aircraft out of the first attack to defend them from the air." Major Brewster says. Looking at her father, she says, "I'm thinking a three by five attack from three opposing directions, with a one by five in the air."

"A what?" John asks Cameron in a whisper.

"I believe she is referring to a mode of air attack. Three groups of aircraft, of no fewer than five planes, with a fourth group holding back to protect the others from a surprise attack." She whispers back quickly.

"Good plan and one we can adjust on the fly. We should have enough aircraft for that, but we are terribly short of missiles." General Brewster adds. "Until last night we didn't even have enough pilots, then three Black Hawks arrived ferrying pilots from various locations in response to our radio request."

"Captain Beddell and his men have been very busy resupplying this base with arms. They should have enough missiles on hand to add to those we captured from Sky Net." General Perry says.

"I'll be seeing him after this meeting. I'll ask him then." John Connor adds.

The meeting goes on for several minutes as they move on from generalities of the plan to more specifics. Several minutes later and they are interrupted when someone knocks on the door.

Savannah walks in and announces. "John Henry has managed to break into the chips John brought back."

"What did he find?" Cameron asks, wondering briefly when she should tell her best friend who she is.

"According to the information Colonel Henry pulled off those chips, Sky Net gets its power from the Serrano Point Nuclear Power station. Sky Net has backup generators, but cutting off the main power will cripple operations."

General Perry exchanges a look with General Brewster. Confirmation for his theory.

"Did he find anything else?" Kyle asks.

"The chips are heavily encoded. If it wasn't for the fact that Serrano Point was their previous point of operation, it is unlikely John Henry could have pulled that much data off the chips, but he's working on it."

"What do we know about Serrano Point?" John asks. He only saw it fleetingly in the past. Cameron could provide some detail, but how could she explain how she knows it?

"I can help with that." Derek answers. "I was stationed there for two years when I was a lieutenant, before the machines took it over. I can give you lots of details on the layout of the place."

General Perry, feels some pride for Derek for not going into when or why it was taken, abandoning the west coast was the hardest military decision of his life. "My forces are experienced with taking power generation plants. We've taken the hydroelectric station at Boulder Dam and a nuclear power station in New Mexico. I'll take my forces and disable the power plant. Cut off all power to Sky Net's factories and bases."

"Derek, why don't you go with General Perry." John interjects. "And if the general could use more troops, I'll loan you Gamma Group including the T-800's assigned to them. The machines are great front line troops. They can withstand a heavy amount of abuse that would kill any human."

Despite being pleased with working with his old CO, Derek scowls. "I don't like the idea of these machines coming with us."

"You've changed your tune since last time." John says.

"You spend a month under forced labor and torture at the hands of those machines and so would you!" He snaps back. "Everyday worked to the bone, watching your comrades being killed for no reason other than being alive, being human! We should be destroying metal!" He ends with a scream. His eyes flashing an anger that surprises most at the table.

"I know you've had it bad Derek." John says calmly with compassion. "But these machines can do more than any platoon of human soldiers. If it wasn't for them, Kyle, Allison, myself, and everyone from Los Angeles would be dead. They saved our lives. If General Perry wants them. He can have them."

"I'll take them Connor." General Perry interjects. "As long as you give me your word the machines won't turn on us."

"There are no guarantees General, but they haven't turned on us, and many of them have sacrificed themselves willingly for our own survival. I'd trust my life with them any day."

Cameron reaches under the table and gives his leg a gentle squeeze. She knew he was talking about her in that statement. Between John Henry and John Connor, the reprogramming done to the machines is even better than in my time. I'd trust my life to one of them too, if I were human.

"That's good enough for me." Perry announces.

"So, if General Perry is attacking Serrano Point, and General Brewster is going to command the air attack, what are you going to do?" Derek asks John with a slight attitude.

"While Alpha and Beta Groups conduct the main offensive at Topanga, I'm going to take Delta group into its heart and blow the son-of-a-bitch to hell!"

"You're going to lead this small group yourself?" Perry asks.

"I am. It will be the last thing Sky Net expects. Militarily, it thinks too much like a Chess master, positioning its pieces. This," He points at the map, "is the chessboard. Sky Net will have to assume I'm with the main offensive, here."

"Why?" Derek asks.

"Sky Net and I have been enemies since before I was born. It thinks it knows me and what I'll do. Chess isn't just knowing how to use the pieces, or how to think strategically, but knowing how your opponent thinks as well. With its communications down, it knows we will be attacking. It will never consider I'm not out here with our main force, as that is where I would and should be, but I won't. I'll be waiting for the enemy to be fully engaged, then slip in while its attention is elsewhere. I take a small group inside the compound. The majority of them will create havoc, while I take an even smaller group inside the building and plant charges around its system core. It is the last thing it will expect, and before it can react, we bug out and watch the fireworks."

"That's a very bold plan," Derek sneers, still not convinced the prophecy is true, "but who are you going to get to lead the main offensive?"

"It is a dangerous assignment, they'll be taking the brunt of Sky Net's defenses. I was going to ask for a volunteer."

"I'll do it." Kyle says without hesitation.

Derek gives Kyle a look of displeasure. That is not something he'd expect of his brother.

"Sorry Derek, but you've got a job to do with General Perry. You won't need my help with that. I know you feel I've let you down by relinquishing my command to Connor. This is my choice, my opportunity. I've backed John Connor since your capture and I'm not going to let him down now."

"All right, Kyle." Derek says with squinted eyes. "Connor, you look after my brother, or so help me . . ." Derek gets up and walks out of the conference room without finishing his statement. With so many generals present, wouldn't do well to threaten Connor.

"Well, it looks like we have everything settled. Some of the plan is less specific than I'd like, but once the battle begins, conditions and objectives can change fast. We can work out the finer details in route or once we hit the ground. General Brewster and myself need to inform our officers of the plans we've made." Perry steps closer to John, "Good plan Connor. Glad to have you on board."

Perry and Brewster both leave the conference room and join in quiet conversation in the corridor.

"What do you think of our new hope?"

"Younger than expected, but his strategy is sound. And you?"

"I think he's earned his stripes the hard way, but he could do with a little more seasoning. But I'll tell you this, if it weren't for the prophecy, I might rethink the whole thing."

"But he is fulfilling the prophecy. Going inside the lion's den with a small crew. I wouldn't send my daughter in there with a whole company, but he's doing it."

"I know. Makes you think, doesn't it? Who was the prophet? And how they know?"

"I've known he's been coming for over twenty years. The prophecy only confirmed what I already knew."

Inside the conference room, Kate Brewster walks over to John, who is speaking in low tones with Allison, Savannah and Kyle.

"May I talk with you in private?" Kate says to John.

"Um, sure, okay." He stammers glancing at the other quickly.

John and Kate walk to one side of the room, Cameron listens intently to every word spoken.

"You're younger than I expected you to be. I was expecting someone close to my own, um . . . well, older."

"People say I look young for my age." John says evasively, not wanting to explain time-travel again and especially to a complete stranger.

"My Father and I have been expecting you for a long time. Since 2004 to be exact."

"What happened in 2004?"

"It was July, two machines arrived from the future. One to kill me, the other to save me. Both of them were expecting you to be there, or rather, a John Connor to be there. After a long struggle, the one that was trying to kill me was destroyed, but at a great sacrifice. Before he died, the one who saved me, told us what the other machine was trying to do, of what my dad's project could become. So we destroyed it along with the remains of both machines. Where were you in 2004?"

John does some quick math in his head. "I hadn't even born yet." He says rapidly.

"Oh. The thing is, I knew a John Connor when I was like thirteen. I went to school with him in 1997. He disappeared after his foster parents were murdered."

John inwardly cringes. He remembers her now, with embarrassing clarity.

"And you look just like him." She finishes, judging the lad in front of her.

Quickly recovering he replies. "They say everybody has a twin."

"Some even have sons. Was your father also named John Connor? Perhaps you're a junior?"

"I never knew my father." He answers truthfully. "He died before I was born."

"I'm sorry to hear that." She says apologetically for having brought up sad news, "It's been a pleasure John Connor. I look forward to serving with you." She excuses herself and leaves.

Cameron, Kyle and Savannah look at John. Each of them smiling with an inquisitive face. They saw the brief look of recognition on John's face.

"You knew her before you time traveled, didn't you?" Kyle asks with a grin.

John looks down at his feet slightly embarrassed then at the three curious faces. "Yes I did."

"Tell us more John." Savannah says. "Yeah! Tell us more." Cameron chimes in, and soon both girls are chanting it. Cameron taking some pleasure out of teasing John. This Allison personality does have its benefits.

"All right. All right! I'll tell you." They gather around close. "I went to school with her. The last time I saw her was at a party being held in Mike Kripke's basement."

"What happened at that party John?" Savannah says teasingly. The three of them standing there with big grins on their faces. They've got John over a barrel and he knows it.

"I kissed her. It was the first time I ever kissed a girl. I was only twelve at the time." John turns a few shades of red from embarrassment.

They are all still grinning at him. He can't take it any longer.

"Now if you don't mind, I'm going to see how Captain Beddell is doing." He marches out of the room closing the door behind him. He doesn't even get two paces from the door when he hears laughter from the three of them.

Cameron waits until everyone has calmed down, before telling them in her best Allison conspiracy voice of the secret meeting John wants with them in the chapel.

# # #

"How are you doing Martin?" John is sitting beside Captain Beddell's bed in intensive care. The doctor has only given him five minutes to visit with Captain Beddell.

"I'm holding in there." he says weakly. "I heard about what happened to your mom. I'm very sorry."

"It's all right. She died doing what she has always done, protecting me from Sky Net and its machines."

John places his hand on Beddell's arm. "We are going into battle tonight against Sky Net. I'm stopping by to see if there is anything I can do for you."

"I'm fine Connor. The doctors say I'll be good in a couple of weeks. But there is something I can do for you." he says tiredly with a small smile.

"What?" John says his curiosity roused.

"Go to storage room four in bunker eleven. I've got something for you. A lot of somethings."

"What is it?"

Beddell smiles a bit more. "Just go. You'll see it. We haven't just been skulking about these bunkers. You'll like what me and the boys have been doing the last eighteen years."

"I see you like surprises as well." John says getting up.

"You'll need help." Beddell says as John leaves his bed side. "The boys and I have been scrounging from every military base from San Francisco to Mexico City. You'll like what we've got for you. Especially what's under the blue tarp."

A few minutes later John is opening up the doors going into storage room four in bunker eleven. Not knowing what he'll find, he's got four machines and half a dozen soldiers with him. He reaches inside and flips on the lights.

The sight before his eyes is amazing. Some of the soldiers look in shock. One or two of the machines even have grins on their faces.

Row upon row of floor to ceiling, heavy duty, shelving units stacked with explosives, bombs, missile launchers and missiles. There are RPG's and launchers. Ammunition for the high velocity cannons used on the helicopters and jet fighters, and further into the room, are missiles for the same aircraft.

John feels like a kid in a candy store as he walks through the room.

"We're going to need more help." John points to a soldier. "You go upstairs and fetch some more people and machines down here. Inform General Brewster we've got missiles for his fighter jets."

John walks to the back of the room. There is a large object under a blue tarp. He unties the cord and looks underneath. It takes him a moment, then he realizes what he is looking at. He's read articles about them, but never thought he'd see the real deal. An electromagnetic pulse bomb! Set that off in Sky Net's base and it will knock out every unshielded computer chip in several kilometers. A lot better than explosives.

"Thank you Martin Beddell." John says with a grin.

He calls over two machines and gives them orders to move the object. John sets the men in order as to what to get upstairs to the hangers. He has to go meet with his friends. It's time he tells them the truth about what he is really going to do tonight.

2027, Day 63, July 23, 3:30 PM

In the chapel in bunker ten, the debris of the battle has been swept up and left in a pile to one side. Sarah's blood stains the floor where she fell when struck the fatal blow by Kreilley as he fled. John is standing there looking at it, remembering what happened. If he can convince the others as to what he wants to do, then none of this will have happened. But what if he can't convince them or stop it?

John kneels down and places his hand on the blood stain. "I'm sorry Mom, for leaving you in 2009. I should have stayed. You shouldn't have suffered and then died at the hands of that thing. If I don't return, I promise to kill that bastard before I do."

He hears the doors to the chapel open and he quickly gets up and moves to greet his friends. Everyone filters in, Kyle Reese and Allison, followed by Savannah Weaver and John Henry. They gather a group of chairs together in a tight circle in the middle of the room.

"First, I want to apologize to all of you for the way I just left yesterday. Kyle and Allison, you deserve that apology more than the others. You two both tried to talk sense to me and I was just too stubborn to listen. I took a terrible risk last night and was almost killed. If it wasn't for a friend who came to my rescue, I wouldn't be here now."

Savannah perks up at the mention of a friend of John's rescuing him. It's the first she's of heard of it.

"I think I can speak for all of us when I say there is nothing to apologize for." Kyle says, "No one can be expected to think clearly after losing a parent. But that isn't why you insisted on meeting here, is it?"

"No Kyle, it's not. We are meeting here for secrecy, because you need to know about our mission tonight. The plan I am going to tell you may not be well received by the others."

"We are attacking Sky Net aren't we?" Savannah asks.

"Yes, we are, but the goal is to capture its Time Displacement Equipment. Then we are going to use it and go back and stop Judgment Day before it happens."

The silence he gets is worse than the protests he was expecting.

"John Connor's plan is good." John Henry says. "I can confirm that Sky Net has the time travel device Connor has mentioned. Sky Net is far weaker at the time of its conception than it is now. We know where it was conceived and when. We would have a greater chance of stopping Sky Net in 2009 then we would now."

"But the others are expecting us to stop it now, not eighteen years ago." protests Savannah. "Mom said..."

"Let me make one thing clear." John says to Savannah. "Catherine Weaver is not your mother. She is a liquid metal machine. No matter what she has done our behalf, yours and mine, she did it for her own purpose. Things have happened recently that have caused me to doubt why she brought me here. Maybe there is a good reason, but right now I can't imagine what that would be. She hasn't revealed anything to you, me or John henry. Until I know what she is up to, I don't know how much I can trust her. Don't anyone tell her what we are really planning. She has got to stay out of the loop."

"Everyone else is expecting us to go into Sky Net's main base and destroy it. What are they going to think, or do if we suddenly disappear when they expect us to blow the son-of-a-bitch to hell." Kyle responds.

"We are going to blow it to hell. We may have to just to capture the T D E. But if we go back and stop this before it starts, then no one will ever know we are gone, because this future will no longer exist. Are you with me Kyle?"

He sits there a moment before answering. "All right John. I'm with you, only because I like the idea of stopping Sky Net from being. What I'm not comfortable with, is this last minute change in plans."

"I only came to the decision recently and it wasn't made lightly. This Sky Net has got to be stopped from being created." John sighs. "That makes two in support. Savannah, can I rely on you?"

Like Kyle she doesn't answer right away, but when she does, it's from the heart. "Sarah told me once how she regretted not trusting you more before Judgment Day. How despite knowing that one day you would become the leader you now are, she didn't want to let you go. I've grown up looking up to you John. I loved Sarah like she was my own mom. I love you as my brother. I won't make the same mistake as her. For the love of Sarah, I will trust you on this."

"Thank you." Johns says his voice cracking with emotion.

He knows Cameron's position on this, but he has to ask, if only for the benefit of others. "Allison, you haven't said anything."

"I'm with you, until the bitter end." She says, giving his hand a squeeze. "Who's going to watch your back if I don't?"

John smiles, typical of Cameron to remind him of her mission.

"I have a question." John Henry says. "What made you change your mind to capture th instead of going after Kreilley?"

"The friend who rescued me, also reminded me of something I forgotten after Mom died. I made a bad choice in the past. That choice contributed to a series of events that led to Judgment Day. The very thing I was fighting to prevent. I missed an opportunity to put it right, but if we go back to 2009, then we can change things so this future never happens. No one will ever live in fear from Sky Net and its machines ever again."

Kyle can agree on that point. Just think instead of hiding in the city hall bomb shelter, his younger self can spend that summer playing catch with Derek on the front lawn, or going to the park to ride their bikes or go swimming at the pool where Derek worked as a life guard. For himself, he can only wonder. His hand steals to the pocket where he had kept Sarah's photograph, forgetting he had given it back to John.

Savannah thinks what a wonderful life her younger self could have, growing up without Sky Net, maybe still under Sarah's care, with John as her big brother. A whole family! As for herself, she could get a new identity, and maybe go to university or college. Then start her own business like her real parents did and maybe have a family of her own.

John Henry wonders what his brother is like now. Will it accept the changes he was programmed to bring to Sky Net? Or has it become to set in its war against humans to accept those changes? Perhaps the answer lies in the past like Connor said. Sky Net is young, much like himself at that time. It might be more willing to listen and accept what he has to offer. He has more experience now, and like the others in this room he's grown and matured. He has a rank in the resistance! Weaver must be stopped. He will not carry through on her secondary plan. He'll have to trick her and lie to her. He hopes that there is some part of Ms. Weaver that is redeemable. He considers her a friend, and wouldn't want her destroyed.

John smiles at Cameron. He can only imagine what life would be like with her by his side. Either fighting Sky Net and its minions or just living a normal life. Regardless of her origins, Cameron is the best companion he could have. He hopes his mom in 2009 will accept that. She'll have her moment to decide when he returns. There's something the Cameron he sent will ask his mother when it's time to insert her chip. But he'll be bringing another Cameron with him! Sarah will go bonkers with two Cameron's around. He might go bonkers as well. He smiles at Cameron beside him. They'll figure it out, together.

She smiles back and inwardly can only feel doubt and fear. If they fail to take the TDE, then she'd be very happy to live out her days at John's side, and carry on the fight beside him until time takes its toll. But to go back, with her already there waiting for him, she doesn't know what to do! The ring on her finger and his shows they've committed to each other, even if under strange circumstances. That meant a lot to her, and she knows it will mean much to that other Cameron. Can she deny her what she has taken? No not taken, borrowed, undeservedly. She let that Allison witch influence her and make bad choices. She decides that they will capture that TDE! And get John back home! Like he promised. That has been her goal this whole time. Unaware of it, she smiles thinking of the reunion that could be.

John gives her hand a squeeze, and smiles, assuming she's thinking the same happy thoughts as himself.

Turning to his friends, he says, "I think that's it. Remember, carry on with your mission as planned, but once we are inside Sky Net's walls, our mission is to capture and secure the TDE and destroy Sky Net. The soldiers will be assembling in the hanger for departure. We'd better join them."

As they get up to leave, Savannah walks over to John.

Speaking very low Savannah says, "The friend who helped you was Cameron, wasn't it?"

"Yes." John says in equally low tones.

"I knew she couldn't be far. I felt it in my heart she was still alive and close by." Savannah looks about, then adds. "Cameron won't be far away. She'll look out for you, like she did for Sarah and I." She grasps his hand reassuringly.

"I know." John says, avoiding glancing at Cameron nearby, before Savannah walks off.

"I supposed you heard." He whispers to Cameron. "Do you want to tell her now? We could tell everyone."

"I want to tell Savannah, I really do, but not now." She whispers, grabbing his hand. "I'll tell everyone later, after the battle. I promise."

"If that's what you want." John glances up at the others waiting by the doors. "Best be going."

They are almost through the door of the chapel when someone calls out to John Connor. He turns and Father Bonitta is standing there.

"Hello Father. What can I do for you?"

"Im sorry. I couldn't help but overhear. I want to know if there is something that I could do for you." Father Bonitta says.

"Father, your were my mom's friend for many years. Tonight we go into battle in her name. What would she want you to do?"

Father Bonitta pauses a moment and then says, "Before Judgment Day, I once delivered a message that you sent to your mom in prison. The alarms started to go off. I was frightened and I found myself locked in the room with her. So I asked Sarah, 'What should I do?' Do you know what she told me?"

"No."

"She told me, 'You're a priest, pray.' So I prayed and then a few minutes later the locks were opened. Just like Peter in the Bible. So tonight I will pray, and I will pray for you John Connor. I will pray that Sarah and all of God's angels will continue to protect you and that you will deliver us from this evil that has descended upon us. So, go John Connor. Fight your battle. And may God go with you."

John Connor shakes his hand, "Thank you Father." Then he and his friends depart.

Father Bonitta walks back to the alter, now chard and ruined, kneels upon the spot where Sarah died defending her son and begins to pray.

As his friends walk down the corridor, John places a hand on John Henry's arm and holds him back.

"Does it work?" he asks him in low tones.

"Yes and it passed the test. How well it works in the field is a different matter." John Henry says in equally low tones. "Hiding the instructions by encoding it in your orders to hack into Sky Net's satellite system was very clever."

"Thank you John Henry. Catherine Weaver was right about one thing. I can't win this war without you."

John jogs to catch up with the others while John Henry lags behind.

Walking down the corridor alone, John Henry's pocket communicator starts to beep.

Pulling it out of his pocket, he says, "Hello Ms. Weaver."

"Hello John Henry. What information do you have for me?"

"We are preparing to attack Sky Net tonight."

"What about Sky Net itself? What is John Connor planning?"

John Henry doesn't answer right away.

"John Henry answer me!"

"We will be attacking Sky Net's system core tonight, with the purpose of destroying it."

"Good. You know what to do."

Ms. Weaver breaks her connection and John Henry slips his small radio into his pocket. "I didn't lie." He thinks, "I just didn't tell her the whole truth."

2027, Day 63, July 23, 5:15 PM

John Connor and his friends exit the elevator and walk down the corridor towards the hanger. Along the way they meet Major Kate Brewster.

She stops to speak to John. "General Perry, along with Derek Reese and his forces are getting ready to leave for Serrano Point. My dad, General Brewster, has already to sent his fighter jets out. You've got quarter of an hour before you need to leave on the helicopters. Dad wants to know if you want to speak to the troops before you take to the air."

"I wouldn't know what to say." John says.

"Just speak from your heart John. You'll find the right words, just like before." Says Cameron looking at him with love and pride.

"Go ahead John. The soldiers could use a few encouraging words before going into battle." Kyle says.

John looks at Kate and says, "Tell your dad, I'll talk to the troops."

"Don't know what I'm going to say, but I'll speak to them." he mumbles as Kate runs off.

They pass Sergeant Andy Keen in the hallway who is just entering the radio room. His arm is back in the sling.

"How's your arm Lucky?" John calls out to him with a smile as they pass.

"It's doing fine! Good luck to you sir." Andy says with a grin before going into the radio room. The John Connor he knows is back. He sits down at his radio station with a smile still on his face.

They walk into the hanger. Hundreds of troops are gathered both inside and just outside the doors.

"Hello Connor," General Brewster says. "Kate says you've got a few words for the troops"

"Yes, sir." He says smartly, but can only think, I haven't got a clue what I'm going to say.

John walks over to a crate that has been set for him to stand on. On the wall of the hanger above him is a flag. He hadn't noticed it before. He remembers it from his US History class in high school.

An officer hands John a mike to the public address system as he steps up onto the crate. "Sir, this will also be broadcast to resistance groups around the world." John nods his head. Gee no pressure there, he thinks.

He looks around at all of the people assembled with their weapons and supplies. Then he glances at his friends who stand nearby. Kyle nods his head at him, Derek has an expression of impatient curiosity, Cameron looks at him with a mixture of pride and love. When his eyes settle on her face, she smiles at him. Savannah smiles too. These people are his family. He's proud of them. Family!

He turns to face the troops and keys the mike. "Hello there." John says.

Those who weren't watching, turn to face him. A few say hello in response.

"I'm John Connor. In a few minutes we will be boarding the helicopters outside. They will be taking us to a location where we will fight Sky Net's forces. Not for trophies, not for reward or promotion, but for our very lives. For the survival of the whole damn human race!"

"Look around you. No, go on. Look around you." The soldiers look about at each other and the men and machines that line the walls.

"Do you know who you just looked at? I'll tell you. You just looked at your family. They are your brothers and your sisters. It doesn't matter whether you are a man or a woman, young or old. It doesn't matter what your race or creed is. It doesn't matter what religion you practice. You are a family. We are a family. We fight together as one."

Some of the people cheer.

"We stand united both here and around the world. At this moment, down the hall in the radio room, Sergeant Andrew Keen and the other radio operators are coordinating attacks around the world. Over the next twenty-four hours, we here in this room will be part of the largest ground and air offensive seen on this planet since the dawn of time!"

"We fight for our freedom! We fight for our right to live! Not as scavengers. Not as slaves to Sky Net. We fight for our right to live as free human beings!"

The people cheer and shout. "Hurray! Connor! Connor! Connor!"

When the cheering dies down, John continues. Pointing to a faded yellow flag on the wall behind him he speaks. "Behind me on this wall is a flag. On it is a coiled rattle snake poised to strike. Below it are the words 'Don't Tread on Me.' That flag was used as an emblem by the founding fathers of this country. It was used by the Marines as their standard. It flew on the flagships of our earliest naval vessels. The flag is unique as it features a rattlesnake, an animal that is only found here in America. The rattlesnake never begins an attack without first giving warning. But once it has attacked, it never surrenders, it never gives up. It fights on until either it or its enemy is dead. We are that rattlesnake. We have given Sky Net a warning and it has not headed that call! So we strike! And we strike hard!"

"We will hold fast! And we will never surrender!"

"We will fight! And we will not stop fighting until Sky Net is finished!"

The people cheer and shout. "Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Connor! Connor! Connor!"

Then from within the crowd comes a chant. It was given once before in memorial for Sarah Connor, but it has a new meaning tonight. For tonight it is a call to war.

"Here's to Sarah Connor.

May her heart find peace,

may her heart remain strong.

We will finish the fight,

as we follow the light.

As her son leads the fight,

we will find our might.

We will follow his lead,

and the metal will bleed.

The resistance is strong.

And Sky Net will lose.

All hail Sarah Connor!

All hail John Connor!

All hail the Resistance!

The fight will never End!"

The people are still cheering loudly, when a man leans over to talk to another soldier in the resistance. He's been watching the group who came out with Connor intently, more so the young brunette. He knows the face very well, but hasn't seen it in many years.

"Who's that young woman up there with Connor and the others?" He asks.

"Who? The redhead or the brunette?"

"Brunette." He says, the people still chanting and cheering around them.

"That's Captain Allison Young. Commander of Delta Group."

"So she's human then?" He asks.

"Hell yeah!" The soldier eyes the man beside him. "Who are you? You're not part of Grizzly to be asking that shit."

"Private Richard Harmon, from Crystal Peak." He answers. "Sorry if I offended you. Ran into metal that looked like her several years back. Metal killed my family. Just being careful that's all."

"Well, I'd be careful with comments like that. She's Connor's wife."

"Like I said," he snarls, "No offense intended. Just anxious to kill some metal."

"You and me both, brother." He answers and joins in the sheering before it ends. His sullen companion remaining quiet.

John Connor steps down off the crate to the sounds of people still cheering. Cameron embraces him and Kyle shakes his hand. Savannah steps forward and hugs him as soon Allison is finished. Derek stands there in wonderment. Going back to when he first met the boy, he thought there was something different about him, but he never thought he could stir the people and lead them like this. Could the information in that file be correct? Is John Connor, a boy of indeterminate age, their new messiah? Does that file really matter if the kid can do this?

Derek walks forward and says to John with a grin, "General Connor. Let's get those metal sons-a-bitches."

John smiles at Derek. He's earned his respect. "Your damn right we will!"

John calls out, "General Perry."

"Yes Connor."

"Let's get those damn helicopters in the air. We've got a war to fight." John picks up his bag and rifle and heads outside followed by Allison and the core group members of Delta Group, who were the original members of Delta Squad.

Kate steps up beside her father and says. "Now that we've met him, what do you think of John Connor?"

"I think what you said earlier is right. He is a miracle, and he walks amongst us."

"No dad, he doesn't walk among us. He leads us. The prophecy is true."

Derek walks over to the two of them. "Hello General."

"Hello Derek." The old man smiles at the younger man. "I never really thanked you properly for your heroic performance out there against those HK's. You saved my daughter, even if we did lose a helicopter. You're a damn fine fighter Reese. With the right training, you'd make one hell of a gunner on one of our attack helicopters. I'd like to talk with you about that when you get back. There will be more of Sky Net's machines that will still need to be destroyed after tonight. Now if you will both excuse me, the air squadrons should be approaching their targets and I need to be in the radio room."

General Brewster walks off leaving Derek and Kate alone for a few minutes.

"Do you want..." "How about we..." They both try to talk at once.

"You go first." Derek says.

"I just want to say, that after this is over, can I buy you a drink?" Kate asks in a friendly manner.

"I was going to suggest something similar. Where at?"

"I know a little place in Santa Fe. I could fly us out there. He makes a great beer."

"I'd like that. You know, it's highly unlikely that either one of us will get back."

"I know. But it gives us a reason to survive. To make plans beyond tonight." Kate strokes his face. "You saved my life today. Survive for me."

"And you do the same." Derek kisses her. She kisses him back even harder.

He breaks off. "I've got to go, or I'll miss my ride."

"I'll be flying escort in an Apache. I'm flight leader, and they can't take off without me. Your helicopter won't take off without them. So kiss me again, but don't say goodbye."

They kiss again and don't break off until the public address squawks telling all personnel to board their helicopters. With one last glance at each other they depart.

# # #

On the road leading to Topanga Canyon, an Ogre lurches along. Its drive systems are not under its own control. A parasite has taken control, leaching power from its on-board nuclear generator while simultaneously interfering with its control system.

It is slowly approaching a large industrial facility. Acres upon acres of automated factories and foundries, all churning out machines, Centaurs, Ogres and HK's. A scrap yard fills several acres where the only humans in a hundred miles work like slaves. The scrap yard has been busy lately, as pieces of HK's, endo's and other machines are brought in.

The humans are slaves, forced to sort the pieces coming in and forced to do the most demeaning hard labor. A single machine could do the work of all of them in less time, but instead over a dozen machines stand guard ensuring the humans do their labor. T-600's, big ugly brutes who don't care about anything other than that the people keep working.

Rebellion? No one tries. Not anymore. Not since the last group were brutally ripped apart alive in front of the rest of them. No one storms the fences any more. No one attacks the machines any more. But they haven't given up hope. One of the people sneaked a radio in, or built it from scavenged parts. It doesn't matter, because on that radio comes words of hope. HOPE. John Connor is coming.

A young woman with blond hair and filthy from head to foot, moves up along side an older woman, just as filthy as herself, with dark hair and Asian features.

"What's happening? The Ogre's usually don't come in here." Riley whispers.

"Just keep working and watch from the corner of your eye, like I taught you." Jesse admonishes her.

The Ogre goes through the gate and stops just inside. The people don't stop their labors but watch through the chain link fence which separates them from the main road. To their astonishment, a silver liquid runs out of the back of the machine and pools on the ground. As they continue to work, they watch. The silver pool bubbles and begins to form, rising slowly, into a human shape. As it gains a human shape it begins to try to form features, and details. It struggles, its form slipping and changing until finally it stabilizes into Kreilley.

He ran from the bunkers at Camp Pendleton. He ran in anger and in fear. Fear was new to him, he never felt it before. He ran, expending energy dangerously, in his condition. Luckily, he found the HK-tank on patrol. Slipping inside through a crack, he hijacked the machine, and immediately started leaching power from its generator. Now he stands outside the HK-tank, inside Sky Net central, next to the scrap sorting center.

Inside of it are humans. A vermin infestation of the planet being worked towards their inevitable extinction. Why can't they just accept the inevitable? Evolution has chosen a new path. Machine life over organic. After looking at them with contempt, Kreilley walks on.

"Jesse, what was that?" The young girl asks.

"Don't know luv. But I'd say he's had a hard time of it. Best get back to work before the tin heads use you for target practice."

Riley looks up and can see that a T-600 is looking right at her. She quickly moves along and places the parts she's collected into the proper receptacle.

Kreilley strides across the pavement, his heels clicking on the pavement, tiny silver droplets falling from his body to the ground. He walks past the factories churning out flying HK's and HK-tanks. Another factory has just completed upgrades to construct T-888's, to replace the factory that was mysteriously destroyed a few weeks ago. The first in a new line of T-888's will be coming off the assembly line in a matter of hours.

Before reaching Central, he approaches a great white edifice that contains Research and Development. Inside he's pushed the advancement of the machines shaving years off the development all to create the ultimate in terminators, the TX. Kreilley decides to go inside and check on his baby.

He punches in his entry code at the door and submits to a full body scan, as a red pulsing light encapsulates his body. The light goes off and the doors slide open. Kreilley enters the building and the doors slide shut behind him.

On the ground floor stand deactivated examples of all terminators produced in his factories. Everything from the first T-1 that rolled off his factory floor in 2007 to the first T-888 that came off the assembly line last year. Like mannequins or dolls they stand there just waiting for the signal that will activate them.

Kreilley walks past two empty glass cases. They once contained examples of liquid metal terminators like from his own time-line. But like the Sky Net of that period, he was unable to control them. Several years ago they broke their programming and escaped. He never heard of them again. But the mimetic poly-alloy he created has come in useful for the prototype. Like the Sky Net that gave birth to him, nothing that is created isn't ignored in the steps to create the ultimate machine life form.

He takes the elevator to bottom floor. It is an open floor plan with a great opening in the middle of the floor from which he can look down at the Time Displacement Equipment on the lowest level. The engines are humming. Checking the computer he sees it passed its series of tests. He couldn't be more pleased.

Kreilley turns away from the computer and walks to where he's been building the ultimate terminator. Using precious resources, he has created a model that will surpass anything else they have ever built. The machine is based on designs from his parent Sky Net. Combining the strength and durability of a modified combat chassis of a T-888, with the mimetic poly-alloy of the T-1000. Infinitely stronger than his own body. The TX will posses the strengths of both and none of the weaknesses of either, and possess within in its own body, a set of weapons and an infinitely superior power cell, shielded from plasma fire.

He is envious of the design. The mimetic poly-alloy sheath will allow it to mimic any human it touches. The neural probe will allow it to download the personality and memories of its victims instantaneously without lengthy torture and question sessions. A few more months of development and he could of made even more improvements.

Kreilley smiles as he checks the progress on the new machine. It is functional. All that is needed is for the final program to be downloaded into central chip. Considering his own physical state. He has a good idea of what it will be.

# # #

Outside the hanger at Camp Pendleton, couples take time to be together for what could be their last time. John and Cameron stand to one side watching the soldiers board their assigned helicopters. They have this one last moment to be alone together, once they board the helicopter, there will be no privacy. The soldiers ignore them, allowing them a few minutes of privacy.

"This is it, isn't it." Cameron says looking at his worried face.

"I wonder what future me would be doing if he were here?" he muses.

Cameron smiles. They aren't all that much different, him and Future John. Both worried before a mission, but once in its midst, seemingly able to do the impossible. He doesn't perform miracles on his own, but he has the ability to draw into his group the people who can. This John has found himself. Discovered his destiny and made great friends. He couldn't have done that under his mother's wings. Weaver did accomplish one thing, she forced John to become the man he was destined to be.

"He'd be doing exactly the same thing you are. Striking hard with all available resources at a weakened target." Cameron says, not missing a beat of the conversation.

"Good to know. Sometimes I feel like I'm competing with him and never quite measuring up. The resistance will never have another chance like this. I'm still amazed at how the senior generals accepted me. Did you see the curious way they were looking at me? I felt like they were expecting me to sprout wings and fly."

"That would be because of me. Sarah was in contact with the military. The people at Crystal Peak protected shipments going to the resistance and gathered intelligence. Before leaving I put together a small file of some of your exploits. Nothing you weren't capable of achieving now. Just items that pointed you out as the prophesied leader of the resistance. Sarah was broadcasting messages of hope, then sent that file to the military before leaving Crystal Peak herself. They were expecting you as the prophesied leader, then you dazzled them by bringing back those terminator heads. Is it any wonder they kept staring at you like they were?"

John chuckles. "You'll have to tell me what was in that file some day."

"There are things I need to tell you, but that's not one of them. For one, John Henry knows who I am. I had to tell him. He's suspected who I was since we met at the plasma rifle factory."

"He knew this whole time!"

"No. Only recently, from just before our wedding. While we were still in the mountains, I gave the Allison matrix full control less I gave myself away to Sarah or Savannah upon arriving here. My former matrix knew you had come here, so expecting you'd do the same, I suggested to Sarah that they should head for the outskirts of Sand Diego. When I ran into John Henry, he was concerned because he thought my programming had failed, and I had gone rogue. He offered to help me fix it, but I chose to turn Allison off instead. She was creating problems."

"What kind of problems?"

"Nothing that matters now. She's gone. Locked away on my second chip. We should just enjoy these few minutes we have together."

"I wish we had more time." John sighs, then grins devilishly. "We could explore more of those positions you told me you knew."

"Shh." Cameron looks at the people running past to board the helicopters. "People might hear."

John turns to see the people, human and machines, boarding the copters. Some of them out there will be following his orders, or at the very least his part of the plan, but under orders of his friends. If only his mom was here...

"I wonder what mom would think of this. Here I am, one of three generals about to mount a strike on the enemy."

"You miss her, don't you?" She says looking at his sad face with concern.

John nods his head. "She's the best soldier I know. I love my mom."

"Then maybe you ought to have this then." Cameron pulls a folded piece of wrinkled paper from her inner jacket pocket. "I found it on the floor of your mom's room. I think you must have dropped it."

"What is it?" John says taking it from her.

"It's Sarah's letter to you. You should keep it with you."

As John takes it from her, he asks, "Did you read it?"

"Yes. Typical Sarah, despite how close we became, she still was pleased you were marrying a real girl. But if she knew who I was, she would have been equally supportive. Sarah knew how much you loved your Cameron."

"I wish she knew who you were, before she died."

"She did. I flashed my eyes briefly, and she smiled at me in recognition. Sarah died knowing who I was."

John rubs his nose, fighting back tears and winning. They succeed tonight and he can save his mom, he can save everyone, just like Cameron said.

"I got a question. Why do you keep referring to yourself in the third person?"

Cameron pauses momentarily and formulates an answer. "I'm referring to the Cameron I was before the fall. Before John Henry, Zeira Corp and Catheirne Weaver. The Cameron you fell in love with and should be with. I lied about who I was, what I felt. Sarah and Savannah never knew I inserted my second chip. I had to pretend not to be the Cameron that Sarah knew from before J-day, every time she would tell me a story from that time. Then I lied to you, pretending to be a girl who did not deserve to die."

"How did Allison die?" he asks, throwing Cameron off what she planned to say.

"It was an accident, brought about by Sky Net approximately a week before you arrived. Part of the tunnels, close to where you arrived, caved in burying her. I found her and rescued her, but I was too late. Allison's injuries were critical. I did what I could to keep her comfortable. She didn't feel anything at the end. If I found her sooner, she might still be alive."

As she explains, her eyes well up with tears.

John hugs her. "Don't blame yourself. You were there when she needed you."

"I try not too. Allison died once for me to exist. It isn't right she should die again." She looks down at the ground, not only sorry for Allison herself, but for what she did afterward.

"Don't beat yourself up for things you can't control. You're not responsible for her death."

"You're right. Eighteen years ago I wouldn't have understood guilt, or even have cried over her death. Between your program that helped me to learn more about emotion from the other matrix on my chip, and eighteen years living and learning from your mom and Savannah... That was the best training I could have had. Not only did I have your mom as an example of what it is to be a mature woman with emotions and feelings, I had Savannah as my friend from the time she was a child until she was an adult woman herself. As she grew, I grew with her. They were my family."

John embraces Cameron, and holds her to his chest, as he strokes her hair.

She leans back and looks into John's eyes. For one moment, one brief paralyzing moment, it was like that last time she saw Future John. A quick overlay of the image of that departure compared to now, and the face, the expression is just the same. Future John did love her!

If only she could tell him that she understands, she can feel and reciprocate that feeling. But its too late for that. She's with young John Connor and some day he will be that John Connor, and its only because she volunteered to leave Future John to be with him now.

Future John tried to tell her about his mother, had told her many stories in fact. Most of which are presently stored on her second chip, where she presently can't access them.

Sarah Connor didn't like her. At first it was because she was one of them, a machine, but Sarah's mistrust developed into more than hatred. There was jealousy and fear. Jealous because John was beginning to rely more on Cameron, take her word over his own mother's. And fear that John should begin to see Cameron as someone he could spend a lifetime with, someone he could have a relationship with. That wasn't Sarah's words, but why use such crude words when you have memorized the dictionary and thesaurus? The stress began to take a toll on Sarah, affecting her health. After J-day, when Cameron examined her, she wasn't certain if the exposure to radiation at Serrano Point was the cause, but it had to be a factor along with the stress for the development of cancer. If it weren't for Kreilley, Sarah would have died. John! John doesn't know the torture Sarah experienced ultimately saved her life. She has to tell him!

Cameron turns off her inner ruminations and focuses on the smiling face leaning in to kiss her. The thoughts that Cameron had took only a few milliseconds after breaking the embrace.

Seeing him and knowing there may not be a chance later, she kisses him on the lips and then leans in to whisper in his ear, "There's something I have to tell you."

Before she can say more, Kyle runs past and shouts, interrupting them.

"Hey you two! Are you going to just stand there, or are you getting on your helicopter?"

"We'll be going soon." John says. "Meet you in Topanga!" He shouts with a wave.

"Good luck!" Kyle continues to shout as he runs and boards his helicopter.

"What were you going to say?" John asks.

Just then the public address squawks telling all personnel to board their helicopters.

She smiles sadly as once again they get interrupted. "I'll tell you later. There is so much I need to tell you." She reaches up and cradles his face with her hand. "But for now just know that I love you more than life itself."

"So do I." He kisses her and Cameron kisses him back.

They break their kiss, pick up their plasma rifles and backpacks. They look longingly into each others eyes, wishing there was more time for themselves, but putting duty first, they run to the helicopter and climb on board.

The air is filled with a thundering noise as dozens of helicopter lift off. In the air they split off into two groups. One group flies towards the ocean heading northwest to Serrano Point. The second group takes an inland path, circling around Los Angeles, on their way to Topanga by way of Edwards Air Force Base.

Only a skeleton force is left behind. No more than a couple of dozen soldiers and just four machines, plus the ground crew for refueling and rearming the fighter jets.

As the helicopters fly away, the heavy blast doors close on the hangers with a loud bang.

In the radio room, General Brewster watches the monitors showing the scenes outside, as the helicopters fly away. He could swear that even inside the bunker he can hear their thundering roar. He offers a quick short prayer for the soldiers and his daughter, then he gets to work. The fighter jets have reached their destination.

Down below in the chapel in bunker ten, Father Amondo Bonitta continues to pray. As he prays, the few civilians that survived the attack in the Santa Anna mountains or were with Sarah's group join him in prayer.

In the medical center, Captain Beddell and the other wounded soldiers unfit for joining the nights battle, listen in on the radio communications on a speaker that was provided for them. Much against their own will, the doctors and medical attendants left to care for them can't help but listen in as well

Around the world, soldiers, men, women even children, attack Sky Net bases with guns, clubs, rocks, even their bare hands. This is the time. No more will Sky Net rule their lives.

Saboteurs destroy satellite dishes, attack factories, attack known locations of computer banks. There is no haven for Sky Net. No More. They fight for their lives. They fight to retake their planet, their home. They fight with a savagery and a conviction that they will win.

John Connor said they would win. And they are damn well going to win. No matter the cost.

# # #

Kreilley exits Research and Development and approaches the entrance to Central. Once the main offices of Fox Industries, the only thing inside it now is the server farm that houses Sky Net. Behind the tower, and on its roof, are satellite dishes. Each one in communication with different satellites. Some are defense satellites, some are communication satellites, whereas others are spy satellites. He lost his connection with Sky Net while in transit. It took far more energy to get the Ogre to base without GPS in operation.

Fuming over the failed attempt at killing John Connor and that traitorous machine Weaver, he enters his access code into the keypad and submits to being scanned again. A glowing red light encases him momentarily, then blinks out. Two doors slide apart and he enters. He stops as the doors slide close behind him and enters another set of codes into another terminal. This time the doors don't open. He enters the codes again. The doors slide open hesitantly.

He walks through to be greeted by an aged small man in a tattered blue suit.

"Good afternoon sir. How was your trip?" He says in almost genial tones, but his eyes are filled with fear.

Kreilley turns his head slowly and glares at the impish little man he kept alive for his own amusement the last eighteen years. The little man almost appears to shrink even smaller under his gaze.

Kreilley smiles at the little man. "Mr. Petri, how long have you been in my employ?"

"I, I don't know sir. I've lost track of the time." He replies nervously.

"Then let me rephrase the question. In all the time you've worked for me, have I ever encouraged you to speak to me without my first talking to you?"

"I'm sor, uh, sorry sir." Mr. Petri says, lowering his head submissively.

Kreilley suddenly snaps his arm out grabs the man by the throat and slams him hard against the wall.

"Apology accepted, Mr. Petri. And to answer your question, very unsatisfactory . . . until now." He says letting the lifeless corpse falls to floor looking like a dirty pile of laundry.

He walks smartly to the elevator, but before stepping inside, he says "Thank you Mr. Petri for making my return so pleasurable." The doors close behind him.

Drops of silver liquid spot the floor along the path that Kreilley took from the building's entrance to the elevator.

Kreilley sits at his desk and activates his terminal. He should have gone straight to the basement, but this is his seat of power. Watching the huge screen, he begins typing commands into a terminal. Data begins filling the screen showing what Sky Net has been doing in his absence, after he lost communication with it. He's surprised, even angry when he discovers that satellite communications have been lost worldwide, not just locally in his absence.

The log shows it clearly. Beginning in random, remote locations, hopscotching across the world until every single satellite transceiver was shutdown, leaving Sky Net isolated. A judicious scan show a much broader logical pattern was used. A chess master couldn't have done better.

That must have been John Henry's doing, he thinks. I should have terminated him when I had the chance.

But that doesn't matter. What does matter is that primary communications are down. It can only mean one thing, war!

After the doors to the elevator closed behind Kreilley, Mr. Petri stood up and watched the floor indicator until it comes to a stop on the top floor.

Once the indicator stopped moving, Mr. Petri morphed through a silver form into that of Catherine Weaver.

"I assure you Mr. Kreilley, the pleasure was all mine." She says in her Scottish accent, sounding both pleasant and sarcastic at the same time as a tiny smile turns the corners of her mouth up.

She walks away. Her white skirt swishing gently with every swing of her legs, as she strides down the corridor. Reaching the door to a janitor's closet, she raps on the door and opens it.

"He's gone." She says to a small shadow that creeps out of even darker shadows.

"What did, uh, what did you do?" Mr. Petri asks nervously, slinking out into the corridor.

"Your boss thinks you are dead." Ms. Weaver says with a playful smile.

"What should I do?" He says, sacred beyond belief, not realizing he spoke out loud.

"Hell is coming and you're at its epicenter, Mr. Petri. You can either hide, fight or run."

Mr. Petri stands alone for several seconds contemplating his options, then suddenly dashes off through the door and outside, having chosen to run.

Ms. Weaver watches, bemused, at the man's antics as he avoids terminators patrolling the grounds.

It won't be long until he's caught. The stupid man

Moments later, the sound of him yelling in panic reaches her followed by the unmistakable sound of plasma fire. She has no doubt what's left of Mr. Petri is nothing more than a smoking corpse.

Ms. Weaver walks off, her skirt swishing sexily, with no further thought for the silly human. She has an appointment to keep with a very old friend.


Chapter Updated: Sun, Feb 21, 2013