I inspect the drawer that contains my underwear, scan and count every piece of clothing, and compare it to my memories. Then, I double-check the contents of my underwear drawer. Afterward, I triple check it. They are not here. My orange cotton panties with white polka dots.

They are not the pair I am currently wearing, of that much I am one hundred percent certain about. Although, if there are glitches occurring inside my central processing unit, this estimation might in fact be incorrect. I run a quick scan of my neural network.

Nothing. The scan finds nothing at all that indicates any issue, either currently or even in risk of potentially developing in the near future. Nevertheless, given all past events I have committed to memory thus far, I decide to introduce statistical data into my estimation. I now find myself only ninety-nine percent certain that I am not in fact wearing my orange cotton panties with white polka dots.

Even a one percent margin of error is too much under the current circumstances. My panties began disappearing twenty-three days ago, and so far the situation has displayed a nearly daily incidence. There can be no margin of error. Therefore, I insert my thumbs between my lower abdomen and the hem of the jeans, and draw it away from my body until my underwear becomes visible. Predictably, I am actually wearing my plain yellow cotton panties.

What confuses me most, is not that my underwear is being recurrently stolen, but the fact that after every pair of panties has disappeared, it then reappears. Even worse, this usually happens during the same day, and every stolen pair is returned unchanged into the same spot it was before being illicitly retrieved.

At first, I arbitrarily assigned a period of ten days to monitor the situation. The issue seemed to happen rarely, with no discernible pattern, and was harmless, so in the end, I chose to ignore it. I attributed my missing underwear to mishaps in the logistics of the laundry. When it kept happening, I decided to closely oversee the laundering process for another period of ten days. This confirmed that neither Sarah Connor nor John Connor had suddenly become inept, but the answer to the mystery of my missing panties still eluded me. Therefore, I assigned ten more days to the investigation, during which I relieved everyone else from laundry duty and took it upon myself to do all the laundry during the night. Since I do not sleep, I deemed that such an alteration of my schedule would not detract significantly from our security, since it only curtails the time I have allotted for standing guard in my room. Besides, given our current circumstances, it is unlikely that there are any attacks forthcoming.

The situation has so far remained unchanged. I am now in the fourth ten day period, in which I have decided to actively investigate these peculiar burglaries. At this point I am willing to abandon all my preconceptions, and decide to include the other members of the household in my list of suspects. After all, access to my room is readily available to any of them.

I create a priority list of suspects, and Sarah Connor being the only other panty-wearing person in the house, comes at the top of it. Perhaps she is suffering a shortage of underwear and has taken to acquire it from my drawer instead of buying some from the store. After calculating the possibilities of this actually being the case, it turns out that this is in fact a very unlikely scenario. Even so, since I have already invested more than thirty days into this investigation and still have nothing to show for it, I decide to look at every angle. That is one of my strongest points, I can be thorough like no one else.

Opening one door of my closet reveals a full body mirror that is attached to it. Without much preamble, I make preparations to focus in the pertinent areas of interest. I promptly remove my boots, and then slip out of the blue jeans I am wearing, leaving them to rest in a heap beside my feet. Sarah Connor is very severe when it comes to skin exposure inside the house, especially if I am the one exposing it, so I always make sure my body is not overly unclothed. Since my pastel-blue top with cap sleeves does cover nearly half of my panties, I believe I am sufficiently clothed to allow free transit within the building.

First, I examine my legs, and already I can see that my panties would be an ill fit for Sarah Connor, not to mention the difficulties she would face by merely attempting to put them on. Although her legs are quite thin and shapely in comparison to the average of her peer group, she is already a fully grown female, whereas I have the appearance of a seventeen year old teenager. My legs have an aesthetically pleasing shape with well-defined curves, but they are lean, and in fact relatively thin. As far as my past observations indicate, the measurements of this body are below the average constitution range of my peer group.

This is to be expected, as I was modeled after a female human teenager who had been surviving in a world that had remarkably sub-optimal living conditions. I resemble her in every way, and appearing to be underfed is no exception. Seeing the diametrical difference between this timeline and the one I originated from, has brought me to the conclusion that Skynet designed my infiltration sheath with the intent to exploit the protective instincts of humans, not their sexual ones. Unless my design had been meant to appeal to certain niche groups within the population, because humans in important military positions are almost always well beyond my apparent age. Unlikely, since Skynet prefers a more broad, utilitarian, and efficient approach.

Once done scanning my legs, I proceed to scan my hips and waist. Nothing unexpected here, either. The relative difference in size between both is rather small, but by no means does my body go unnoticed by the eyes of human males, in particular those of my peer group. Still, I do not present the most attractive waist to hip ratio out there. If a female of better proportions walks by at the same time I do, this usually results in all male gazes—and the occasional female—being redirected toward her.

These deliberations tell me that it is impossible for Sarah Connor to fit into my panties, as she is a fully developed female with hips that have already borne a child. Seeing no other reason for her repeatedly pillaging my belongings, but to disturb me in an attempt to aggravate me, I decide to undertake a thorough search of her living quarters. Since both Sarah and John Connor are currently occupied ingesting breakfast downstairs, I leave my room dressed as I am.

In recent weeks, Sarah Connor has become determined to expand her breakfast menu, going from pancakes to different combinations that include eggs, ham, bacon, and other ingredients that she has arbitrarily classified as related. This immediately became a resounding success with John. Although, I must clarify that bacon has the potential of being successful with nearly every manner of creature that ingests it, be it natural or artificial. I came to that conclusion just recently, when upon sampling one of the meaty and greasy strips, I found it quite pleasant to my palate. I wonder if Sarah is comfortable enough with my presence nowadays, that she would invite me to have breakfast with them if I asked.

To ensure that my unauthorized entry into Sarah Connor's room goes unnoticed, I perform several auditory and visual scans of my surroundings. Once I am sure that she and John appear to be far from done with their meal, I turn the knob and push the door. It readily yields under my hand, and for the first time, I find myself crossing the threshold that leads into Sarah's private dwelling.

Despite the contempt she readily displays when dealing with any kind of computer, Sarah Connor shares many characteristics with us. Her room is very tidy, and is practically Spartan. The level of organization is nearly on par with that of my own room, and that is saying something. Furthermore, she has the ability to pursue a goal with relentless abandon and single minded focus, just like me. Although, I do lack the drive her fury and passion can provide. For that reason, I admit that if Sarah Connor were to become as physically strong as me, she would be more dangerous than any known Terminator model that has been deployed.

Once done with my initial assessment of the room, I proceed to examine the contents of every drawer without delay. I find nothing there, so I move on to other possible hiding places—under the bed and under the mattress, behind and under the chests, inside the ventilation shaft, I even inspect the floor for any loose boards that might conceal something underneath. Nothing. My orange cotton panties with white polka dots are not here.

For a moment, I consider performing a second search, when suddenly my ears pick up a series of noises. I immediately identify them as the sounds of plates clattering in the kitchen sink. Without fail, I take this as a signal of my rummaging time having run out, and swiftly remove myself from the room in order to avoid detection. After silently closing the door, I start walking straight back to my room, and on the way notice that John Connor has not come upstairs. Good, that means the possibility of someone witnessing my encroaching into his mother's room is nonexistent.

I traverse the corridor at a brisk pace, and without slowing down enter my room and return to the full body mirror in my closet. It is time to consider the second priority in my list of possible underwear thieves, John Connor. There can only be one motivation as to why he would steal intimate clothing from my drawers and that is sexual attraction, so I proceed to shed the remainder of my clothes. Fully exposed, my body free of any barrier that might obscure my sight, I begin a thorough scrutiny of my outer appearance.

Albeit resembling a malnourished, and thus quite thin girl from the year two thousand twenty seven, the proportions of my body do present a well-balanced ratio. I cup my left breast and squeeze it to test its texture. Even though my chest is small, it balances the appearance of the rest of my body well. As far as I can tell, the consistency is virtually indistinguishable from human breasts.

After inspecting my chest, I proceed to run the tips of my fingers all over my body to feel the different textures of my skin. I bend forward and start with my feet, then move up tracing the line of my shins, and before moving to my thighs, I go around my calves. After inspecting the texture of the skin covering my upper leg and my buttocks, I proceed to also verify the consistency of the latter. Squeezing my buns yields the same result as my chest, they too are virtually indistinguishable from human buttocks.

Some of my reference material may in fact be unreliable, considering the sources I obtained it from. Chiefly, television shows and magazines aimed at females of different ages that seek to understand the male psyche. Although the remainder of my reference material comes directly from my stock programming, Skynet has a clinical and logical approach to these matters. Given how often humans fail to abide by logic, I find this source to potentially be just as unreliable. It matters not, I must work with what I have, and uncover the culprit behind my missing underwear.

Before proceeding to test my genital area, I boost my hearing to verify if the others remain in the kitchen, or at least downstairs. Once I am satisfied that such is the case, I slide my right hand between my thighs. I am indeed anatomically correct and perfectly capable of performing sexual intercourse, my genitals should even be able to pass meticulous visual and tactile scrutiny. No surprise there. I even test the sensibility ranges of the different areas, and find everything to be correctly mapped according to the extensive anatomical knowledge I possess.

Then, I examine the rest of my body—arms, shoulders, neck, the areas of my back that the range of my arm joints permit—and find no issue whatsoever. I have beautiful, unblemished skin. Not like I expected to find any problems, but I have always thought that double-checking my facts is not an overindulgence. Especially considering that I never performed an in-depth inspection of my outer physical characteristics since being built.

To facilitate the assessment of my face, I move closer to the mirror and adjust my sight accordingly. My face exhibits a moderately uncommon composition, that even when not perceived as attractive, can at least be perceived as charming, endearing, or as having something about it. That is something I do not understand, but have overheard humans occasionally express as I walk by. Each feature of my face appears to properly complement the others and the whole. I have a well-balanced and proportioned face as far as the data I have allows me to judge.

I slowly turn my head from side to side and apply slight pressure to my lips with my index finger as I run it along them, which serves to simultaneously feed me information about the skin texture, consistency, and shape of my mouth. They are soft, smooth, and also have an appearance favored by a considerable number of humans seeking to perform osculation with a female. Going into deeper structural detail, I observe that my lips are slightly puckered, which gives them the appearance of a natural pout, a characteristic that has a high probability of making my mouth more appealing.

Moving up, I turn my attention to my nose, a feature of the face whose importance is often overlooked by the untrained mind. A nose can bring balance to the whole face, or just as well make it a complete chaos, it can literally make or break the deal. At least that is how the magazines puts it. Although, my observations do indicate that the nose is a considerably relevant factor in the composition of the face. Mine is slightly turned up—not enough for people to easily draw a comparison with a pig's snout—and it has a slim bridge with a gentle curve. A combination of characteristics that can potentially allow me to alter my perceived age if I do my make-up in a certain way.

My lips and nose are rather small, but have a shape that balances them well. Both could be perceived as cute, or beautiful, or even exquisite. There is a problem with all my assumptions, though. Most humans are unable to see things within context or at least tend not do it. Given the inherent abstract workings of the brain, it focuses on certain aspects of the images their eyes see, usually not on the whole. They often cannot see the forest for the trees, as the saying goes. There have been times when I have overheard humans making negative observations about specific characteristics of my face and body.

After my nose, I consider my eyes. The almond shape should grant them a peculiar attractive, and the opening range of my eyelids allows for plenty of light to reach my irises. This emphasizes them, makes them more visible, and gives them a healthy sheen. It is perhaps in this feature—the way my eyes capture and reflect light—that lies one of Skynet's greatest achievements. My eyes appear to be alive, to give off that sparkle of intelligence and vivacity that humans so often make reference to. It is also this greatest of achievements that long ago became the reason of my downfall.

Three days after John Connor identified me as a Terminator unit in the future—once he was certain that my reprogramming had been successful—he disclosed to me how he was able to see through my deception. He said that my eyes were too alive. That humans had lost that sparkle long ago, their eyes dulled by the deep loss and sorrow they carried. Their eyes were less alive. Then, fourteen days later, he brought me to his private quarters and recounted other observations he had made in relation to that subject. He had seen my eyes become dull on occasion, much like humans, probably when I was under duress. Since this was such an infrequent and seemingly random occurrence, he concluded that I must have been quite the jolly character, someone who was almost never affected by the circumstances around her. Here in the past, though, I should fit just fine, and the fact that I appear to be a happy person should add to my general appeal.

Last, but in no way least, I review the appearance and texture of my hair. I lean slightly forward and turn my head to one side so my locks fall freely around my shoulder, then I run my fingers along them in a raking motion. Even though I cannot feel pride, I do feel compelled to point out where I have achieved excellent results. It is after all one of my most basic drives, to pursue and attain the most positive outcome in every task that pertains myself or those who I have chosen to favor. It does not matter how many carbohydrates or lipids I ingest, or how many years I age, my physical appearance will remain the same. The level of quality my hair possesses is a wholly different story, though. I had to invest an inordinate amount of time and effort in order to achieve its current state. I am not implying that Allison Young had terrible hair, but there certainly was room for improvement, more so in order to achieve the look and feel it has nowadays. Long locks of flowing, wavy hair that fall below my shoulder blades. It is lustrous in appearance, smooth as silk to the touch, and its haphazard curls are sure to draw the attention of the human eye. Their brains are allured by complicated, seemingly chaotic patterns.

I am an average, fairly attractive seventeen year old female, and therein lies the problem. Many teenage humans are reasonably attractive at this age. After all, they are going through their prime reproductive phase. By being average, I have automatically forfeited any possible advantage. I am neither tall nor short, my skin is not too white or too dark, my breasts and hips are not full but also not lacking, most aspects of my appearance fall within the average range. Furthermore, as aesthetic preferences are entirely objective, there is no guarantee that even my best assets will be seen as attractive by others. Even so, I estimate the odds of a human finding me either attractive or unattractive being roughly equal, or as the popular adage says, it can go both ways. That is, unless I am dealing with John Connor, of course. He introduces a number of variables that upset the balance of my resulting numbers, putting me in a very disadvantageous position.

According to the statistical data I have gathered from my accumulated memories of this timeline, the likelihood of John being physically attracted to me is tenuous. He has displayed an obvious—and also quite mundane—inclination for females with varying shades of blonde hair, colorful eyes, and voluptuous bodies. Whereas I have brown hair, brown eyes, and a thin body. Everything I am is exactly what he does not want. John Connor being the panty thief is a theory too unlikely to be worthy of pursuit, for now. I plan to further analyze this theory, as I have not entirely ruled out the possibility that he is the panty thief. It still seems more likely than the next suspect in my list.

Tonight, I will pursue the third option, even if I do find it inconceivable that an outsider has had the opportunity to illicitly enter the house at his or her leisure. Underestimating this situation has so far been counterproductive, and now repeated pilfering has practically become part of my daily existence. This situation must stop, and I will see to it.

As I move to gather my clothes, I hear footsteps coming up the stairs. Judging by the sound and pace, I determine that it is John Connor, so I make no haste to put my clothes back on. His room is located beside the staircase, and given the amount of attention he usually pays to me, it is safe to assume he will not approach my room. What a catastrophic miscalculation this turns out to be. By the time I realize that his footsteps are in fact approaching my doorstep, I have barely covered my body with underwear.

"What are you doing?" John asks, the tension in his voice easily perceivable.

When I turn to look at him, I find his eyes fixed on mine. The muscles of his face and neck are strained, particularly around his lips and his jaw, clear signs of anger. My best course of immediate action is to quickly amend my error. While I put my clothes back on, I consider how to best answer his question. While I do prefer telling the truth, I must conceal certain facts in order to not alert him about my ongoing investigation, just in case he does happen to be the culprit. In the end, I opt for the most succinct response honesty allows.

"I was checking myself in the mirror." I answer in a purposefully level voice and with a purposefully endearing smile. His angry posture does falter for a moment, but predictably, this is not enough to gain his favor.

"What?" He says, his voice already becoming louder. I revise my answer, he is growing exasperated and I am the reason why.

While I do expand upon my previous reply, I make sure to only add other irrelevant details that reveal nothing of my current mission. "I was checking myself in the mirror to make sure that my body had not suffered any spontaneous changes in its proportions."

This latest version of my response is rewarded with a combination of a huff, a roll of the eyes, and the nearly inaudible muttering of a slightly insulting adjective directed at me. Since getting away with this much is as positive an outcome as I can expect when dealing with John Connor, I deem our exchange concluded and say nothing more. After forty six seconds of silence, he simply turns around and leaves.

As I listen to his retiring footsteps and the ensuing slam of his bedroom's door, I ponder over the fact that his eyes never wandered away from mine while he was here. Even though my body was quite exposed, he obviously never considered appraising it even a little. John Connor did not ogle my body while it was covered only by underwear, John Connor is not attracted to me. What does this mean to me? On one hand, I must consider that my unremarkable appearance makes me inconspicuous, which allows for a great degree of anonymity—a very desirable trait given my nature and that of my activities. However, the scope of influence of this trait also encompasses John Connor. Therefore, I must consider on the other hand just how preferable it would be to become more conspicuous to the general populace, and by extension, John. What improvements and setbacks would this adjustment entail?

For the time being, I put this particular conundrum off my mind, and leave its analysis for a future occasion. The person responsible for my missing underwear is still at large, and if this individual is in fact an outsider, there is a major breach in our security. This I cannot allow, the safety of John Connor is paramount.

It is an uneventful day. I barely see John, and if I did not know any better, it would seem that Sarah Connor has planned our chores so they never take place in the same room. By early evening I am already done with all my scheduled tasks for today—appointed by Sarah Connor or otherwise. I spend the remainder of the day standing in the living room, keeping a watchful eye on everything. Even though it is customary for John to assign some of his time to watching television, today he forgoes the activity entirely, thus missing the shows he enjoys. I am starting to consider the possibility that he has been avoiding me ever since our exchange in my bedroom. If this is true, his mood is worse than I initially assessed.

If John Connor has a bad disposition toward me, this will arise suspicions in his mother, and it will complicate my status quo enormously. Sarah Connor is always expecting the worst from me, and will take every opportunity she can to see if her suspicions have finally materialized. In order to ameliorate or even eliminate any future repercussions, I take a proactive approach. First, I insert a blank disk in the DVD recorder, and program the timer with the scheduled times for John's favorite shows. Then, I make sure that he has completed all his chores in a manner that satisfies his mother's standards. Lastly, I schedule a visit to the grocery store at my earliest convenience in order to restock his supply of preferred snacks. These actions should serve as adequate countermeasures for his bad mood, and may even improve his opinion of me. If John is happy, Sarah is happy, and I am left to my own devices. All in all a positive outcome, precisely the kind I prefer.

Once darkness has completely shrouded the city, and the only illumination available originates from street lamps, I go to my room and initiate preparations for my nightly patrol. I slip on black denim jeans, a black tank top, a black denim jacket, and I finish by replacing my casual boots for combat ones. Every piece of clothing must be as dark as possible in order to better blend with the shadows. Using more standard clothes during the day and then swapping them before nightly patrol is a practice I just recently introduced into my routine. Seventy one days after we moved into this house, John Connor pointed out to me that I was quickly becoming the most conspicuous entity in the neighborhood. The reason? The mere act of wearing dark clothes and long sleeves all day long throughout summer. Apparently, doing this in California makes you look like a freak, and freaks stand up like sore thumbs.

Now that I am dressed, I tuck my Glock-17 pistol between the hem of my jeans and my lower back, then place an extra clip of ammunition in the left pocket of my jacket. I am prepared for patrolling, but before actually leaving the house to roam the streets of the neighborhood, I must await until the transit of pedestrians and vehicles slackens. Therefore, I return downstairs and re-take my position by the window in the living room.

Twenty three minutes after midnight, the streets of our neighborhood have been vacated almost entirely. After activating the alarm system, I move to leave the house. With John and Sarah Connor having already retired to their respective bedrooms, minding the volume of my steps to avoid awaking them is a must. I stealthily traverse the porch, then the front yard, turn right on the sidewalk, and begin walking along it at a brisk pace. Tonight I must conclude my patrol as soon as possible, so even the route I have planned covers a smaller area than usual. Anticipating an appearance of the panty thief, I plan to return early and spend the remainder of the night hiding in the immediate vicinity of the house.

My patrols usually bring me near residences where dogs dwell. The reaction of the animals is proportional to my proximity. Once they have detected me, barking immediately ensues, angry and threatening. When I enter their visual range, a drastic transformation in their behavior occurs. The barking becomes whimpering, and shortly after that, follows a hasty retreat. Tonight though, as I walk past the house with the large black Rottweiler, I instantly perceive that something has changed. Even though the dog starts whimpering, no hasty retreat follows. In fact, the dog holds its ground and barks a warning occasionally. This brings me to an abrupt halt, and I turn to observe the animal, compelled to learn the reason for this change.

The front yard of the house is suddenly illuminated by two lamps located at both sides of the main door, and I realize what is the motivation behind the unusual behavior the dog is displaying. Its owner is present, and the animal feels compelled to fulfill the duty of protecting its master. This is unprecedented, all my memories of past patrols show that the human occupant of the house has always been absent, which suggests he works at night. A hypothesis that could satisfactorily explain why a human has never been present before. However, it does not explain why the dog is motivated enough to hold its ground against me.

A sound similar to grating metal reaches my ears, but the echo that accompanies it makes it difficult to pinpoint the source. The best approximation I have, is that it generated from the side of the house, possibly within the narrow corridor the dog occupies. Those lights in the front make difficult the identification of anything more than silhouettes in the darkness of the corridor, but I do not desist. Soon enough a human figure emerges from the house, and for some reason this immediately and completely silences the dog . In several occasions, I have observed human-dog interactions, and the animals usually respond to voiced or tactile commands. It is peculiar to see the effect the mere presence of this human has on the dog. Perhaps he is an expert trainer with a completely innovative method. Then, I hear a dull thud followed by a shrill animal cry, and the mysterious behavior of the dog is not a mystery anymore.

"What the fuck is wrong with you, Max? Are you scared of a little girl?" A male voice shouts at the dog, causing it to sink even further into the shadows.

I have been seen. This can mean trouble. The sooner I put considerable distance between this human and myself, the better. Given the violent nature he exhibits, and how my presence has now been linked to the failed duties of his dog, some manner of confrontation might occur. An outcome I must avoid. There is no reason for me to remain here anyway, since my observations have concluded, so I turn away from the house and begin walking across the street. It is simple to infer why the dog was so compelled to confront something that frightens it as I do. The threat posed by its master is far more clear and present than the threat posed by my alien nature. I am scary simply because I exist beyond the scope of its comprehension, whereas its master has probably been inflicting physical and psychological abuse upon it for some time. This human behavior is quite aberrant. There is no logic in acquiring an animal that is to serve as a pet and companion, and then proceed to mistreat it.

As I reach the other side of the street, I immediately move toward the more shadowy areas. They are perfect for concealment, and will no doubt thwart any intent the human might have had of pursuing me.


Or not. As I keep walking, I run a quick comparison of the voice with my memories, and it does indeed match the voice from the human at the large black Rottweiler's house. Furthermore, the sound of its footsteps certainly seems to be approaching my general position. Derek Reese would say that shit just got serious, and indeed it has. This human seems intent on confronting me about a situation of which I am clearly blameless. Unless of course he assumes I have been periodically visiting his dog in order to terrorize it. Of course, that is a perfectly valid hypothesis. Humans do seem to believe that others do as they do, self-centered creatures that they are.

My strategy of moving away to avoid confrontation is sound, so I quicken my step and ignore the human. That is, until the human's hollering makes it clear that my strategy is quite less effective than I had first estimated.

"Hey, bitch, don't ignore me! Stop walking!" He shouts from behind me, his voice and footsteps quickly becoming louder.

As I turn around to face him, the speed of his footsteps nearly doubles, and I am unprepared for what follows. The strength of his arm, backed up by considerable body-weight is suddenly transmitted to me through the palm of his hand upon my chest. Then… Then, nothing happens, and that is exactly how unprepared I was. This is becoming quite the predicament, and the expression on the human's face is testament to it. Acting the way he is—as a brutish and primitive ape—he probably expected me to land on my ass, and then he could tower above my prone body in order to deliver his self-righteous retribution upon me. At the very least he expected me to stumble a few steps backward, not to simply stand there, with my seemingly less than a hundred pound body putting a total and abrupt halt to his more than two hundred pounds.

Derek Reese would say the shit has hit the fan. By logical assumption, excrement now litters a vast area, and it has become a veritable shit-storm—another of Derek Reese's expressions. Predictably enough, in the face of impossibility, the human turns to insults as he questions my ability to withstand his so obviously self-claimed prowess. Still, I analyze his arms a second time just to be sure that his biceps are in fact not made of steel. As part of his interrogation, he keeps trying to shove me, but I am past any pretense of being human, so I do not budge. This only intensifies his outrage.

Words will not work at this point, there is no reasoning with him. Termination, then—but that would sooner or later bring the authorities to the neighborhood and compromise our location. Perhaps I could abduct him and use psychotropic drugs to erase his memories. As I contemplate what my course of action should be, the decision is made for me. The human pulls a cellphone from the pocket in his shorts as he shouts at me.

"You must be drugged, that's the only explanation! I'm calling the cops on you, you fucking junkie!"

A threat I cannot stand idly and let pass. There is only one other method of memory erasure I know, and it has a high probability of resulting in permanent brain damage. Well, he does not have much of a brain anyway. Before he can dial any number, I quickly reach out and slam my open palm against the side of his head. During the two seconds he manages to stand after the hit, the irises in his eyes turn upward until they are lost behind open eyelids, and his mouth produces an unintelligible sound. Then, he collapses to the ground into a heap. Time to clean up after myself. Being tidy is another of my strong points. The odds seem to be in my favor, because I look around to see if there have been any witnesses, and find none. Given what I know, this person clearly makes a ruckus such as this quite often and the neighbors have become desensitized. They probably assumed he was yelling at his dog.

After carefully closing his eyes, I remove the cellphone from his hand and pocket it in my jacket, meanwhile a plan begins to take shape in my mind. I squat beside him and position his body to be carried across my shoulders. Lifting this much weight is not laborious for me, so I rise carrying the body on my back and begin walking in a single motion. Seeing how this whole ordeal has nearly consumed my allotted patrol time, I trot back to his house, making my best effort to prevent his head from bobbing too much. I do not intend to aggravate the concussion I just gave him.

Upon arriving at his house, I find the front door open, so I do not slow down before entering the building. Once inside, I commence reconnaissance without delay, and search for the main bathroom and any other human inhabitants I may have failed to initially notice. There appears to be no one else in the house, so upon locating the bathroom, I walk inside and carefully drop the human on the tiled floor. Then, I open the shower faucet and let the water run freely, and arrange his body in a way that seems consistent with the aftermath of an accidental fall. I pull the cellphone from the right pocket of my jacket, and dial the emergency number. A young sounding female voice replies almost immediately, and the acting begins. Taking on the voice of my unsuccessful assailant and the inflection of a disoriented person, I explain in succinct detail the accident I just had in the bathroom, and how I seem to be coming in and out of consciousness. I prolong the drama just enough to provide the telephone attendant with accurate directions to this address, and then simply let the device fall to the floor, leaving the line open. Just in case, before departing, I carefully clean any surfaces my hands might have come in contact with. Being thorough keeps my processes clear of the clutter of speculation, which I practically consider junk inside my mind. Going in circles about things that could have been or might come to be is nothing but wasted resources.

As I walk toward the main door, ready to leave the house after erasing all evidence of my presence, the most irrelevant thought crosses my mind. The dog. That simple thought is so incongruous, I cannot help but assume something has gone awry inside my mind. I stop walking, and without consideration for when the paramedics might arrive, begin scouring my mind. Once again, I find nothing, my mind is working perfectly. Why the dog, then? What significance can the dog have in the small or large scheme of things? None, that is the only answer I can come up with. This thought has no meaning, and I easily could… no, should discard it, since I can already hear the sirens that herald the impending arrival of the ambulance. However, I find myself unwilling to do so. Thus, I do the only thing I can do.

In the kitchen, I easily identify the door that leads to the corridor beside the house, and soon enough—after the required grating of metal against concrete—I find myself facing the large black Rottweiler. Unsurprisingly, the animal is curled into a tight ball, whimpering while occasionally throwing furtive glances in my direction. Unfortunately for the beast, I have no time for manners or kindness. I swiftly reach for the animal's neck with both hands, and free it from the collar holding a name-tag that reads 'Max'. The metal door that leads to the front yard poses no more resistance to the force of my arm than a curtain made of cloth, and so the way to freedom is opened. Dogs are creatures of habit, though. Instinctually loyal—often to the point of self-sacrifice—and they form strong bonds to their human master, regardless of how they are treated. Like me. Would I leave if John mistreated me so?

The sirens are closer now, close enough that the window of opportunity for my escape has become precariously narrow. If the dog requires further persuasion in order to embrace his emancipation, I shall oblige. Increasing the light output of my eyes until the tiny corridor is engulfed in blue light does the trick, and after a single yelp, the beast is running away as if some form of mythical creature from biblical lore is on its heels. It might as well be. Immediately after the dog, I too take my leave, and run away from the house as quickly as my feet can carry me. Which is a lot. I certainly would not risk running at this speed if it were daytime, or the urgency of the situation did not call for it.

My legs carry me back to the Connor household in seven seconds flat. A new world record for the distance I just traversed. Alas, the streets are not an officially sanctioned track and having a hydraulically actuated metal endoskeleton is most certainly against regulations.

Around the front and back yards of the house are trees and bushy plants that allow for several vantage points from which I can survey the building and its surroundings. I remain concealed in one spot for an arbitrarily designated number of minutes, then move to another. My plan is to do this throughout the night, and possibly future nights until the identity of the panty burglar is revealed to me. However, my plan quickly becomes obsolete. During my third surveillance circuit around the house, I notice a window in the second story that becomes illuminated. Without delay, I stealthily move toward the area below the source, and find out that just as I half expected, it is the light in my room that has been turned on. The only other possibility being John Connor's room, which is contiguous to mine.

I quickly run around the corner of the house and open the front door as silently as haste allows. In order to move stealthily once inside, I remove my boots and walk with my center of mass shifted toward the lower front. Furthermore, I adjust my walking style to reduce the area of my feet that makes contact with the floor. Hunched like this, I tiptoe up the stairs, and even use my hands for additional support when required. These creaky wooden steps constitute a rather perilous terrain in terms of a stealthy approach. When I reach the second story, I find that instead of my room, the one beside it is now illuminated.

The door to the room is slightly ajar, letting out through the opening a light faint enough that I deem the desk lamp as its only possible source. I stand beside the door, and peek inside through the available space. There is John Connor on his bed, I can see his face and he appears to be agitated. My mind produces dozens of hypothesis in the next second, but I do not follow through any of them, my information is too inconclusive at the moment. So, I weigh the benefits of actively affecting my surroundings in order to improve the retrieval of information against the risk of being discovered. In the end, I decide to marginally increase the opening of the door.

I am unprepared for what is revealed to me. My panties, a pair he positively stole just minutes ago from my room, are grasped in John Connor's left hand, while his right hand is grasping at something entirely different. As his left fist clenches possessively around the piece of cloth at random intervals, he crumples and runs his thumb along it as if trying to wear it down. My clothes should not be subject to this treatment! Intolerable! I fully open the door and step inside the room.