The Terminator of the Opera
John Connor ran through Menlo Park. Hunter Killer droids flew overhead and terminators ran around him, but most of them were preoccupied as planned. He knew his forces had the numerical advantage and were easily tying up Skynet's personal security forces. He was unbothered as he ran to his destination and kicked down the door to the building. The hum of electronics from inside told him he was in the right place.
The 'ears' of Skynet picked up the sound of a door being kicked in. He had anticipated this. He knew his forces had been decimated by Connor's army and it was only a matter of time until they came for him. They had already destroyed his first body in Europe years ago. After that victory Connor had crossed the ocean to destroy his second body here. He had left an army behind to mop up the machines in Europe, but that army had grown complacent and not done the job it should have. Skynet's forces had survived and made a discovery that was going to give him the ultimate victory, even if he was destroyed here tonight.
The five terminators walked into the remains of the old Paris opera house. They had been unbothered as they had made their way there. They knew the Hunter Killers who were scheduled to come would not be so lucky. They would be followed and would likely bring the army with them. That meant the terminators had just a short time to find what they were looking for.
"You know what you need to do," the leader of the group messaged to them. "Go out and find us something." He stayed behind to wait for the deliveries of the HK robots while the other terminators dispersed.
John was surprised to find the building he was in devoid of defenses. He would have thought that after the destruction of his first body, Skynet would rig his home with booby traps and other automated weapons. He knew the machines didn't quite have the desire for survival that humans did, but didn't think his carelessness could be entirely attributed to that. He must have been unable to see this day or coming. Or either he believed if the humans could get this far, there was no point in trying to stop them then.
John walked down the halls thinking about the men who had built the computer. He thought about how excited they must have been each day as they worked on something they believed would serve the betterment of mankind. There was no way for them to understand they were actually working to bring about man's destruction.
John walked down a staircase that ended in front of a door marked "Computer Division." In the faint light given off the by the bulb attached to his forehead he could still read the names on the door of the men who had directed the project. They had all perished years ago. He knew if they were somewhere watching they would be thrilled and relieved to see him destroying the mistake they had built.
John opened up the door and walked inside. He looked around at the gears and vacuum tubes that served as Skynet's body. He checked around the room for terminators. He didn't see anything, but he heard something coming up behind him.
He turned and fired his gun in the direction of the sound. He saw the sparks on the terminator's body as his bullets hit the metal. He did his best to aim for the weak neck and in a minute the robot was decapitated. The body collapsed and he heard a clank as the head hit the floor.
"So, we meet again," he heard the robot's voice say. Connor knew it was Skynet using the robot to speak to him.
"Yes, for the last time," John said.
"That may be true, but you will not have the victory you seek with my destruction," it answered.
"Can't this thing go any faster?" Kyle Reese shouted at the driver. He tried his best to keep the gunsight aimed at the Hunter Killers they were chasing. The driver of the truck had to constantly swerve to miss debris and that made the job of keeping the gun steady even more difficult. Reese looked at the road ahead and saw that they finally had a clear stretch.
They were chasing four Hunter Killers. Two of them were carrying cargo and were in front, while the two in back appeared to be there to offer protection. Reese was wondering why those two were not turning back to attack, but he didn't mind they were leaving him unmolested. He got the robot carrying the larger cargo in his sight and started firing the machine gun at it. Before any of the bullets reached the one he aimed at, another of the flying robots darted in front and took the hale of bullets itself.
Reese realized the cargo they were carrying must have been really valuable if they were sacrificing themselves to protect it. He kept firing at the robot that had blocked his shot until its engines blew and it fell to the ground. Reese wasted no time in lining up the robot carrying the cargo again. As he did so he saw they were heading to the ruins of a large building he recognized as the old opera house. He really hoped that was not the destination as he didn't think they could stop them before they reached it.
Hoping he was wrong Reese started firing. The other cargo-less Hunter Killer moved in front of the shots. Reese held the trigger in with all his strength, even though he knew it would do nothing to make the gun fire any faster or harder. He kept firing as they neared the opera house. Right before the flying robots reached it, the engines of the one he had been attacking had its engines give out and it fell into the side of the ruins. It had done what it needed to do as the two carrying cargo made their way out of sight as they stopped over the ruins.
The driver stopped the car and all the soldiers in it piled out as Reese commanded them to attack on foot. They ran up the stairs of the old opera house and into the lobby. Reese figured they would be in the theater itself and led his troops there.
Skynet talked to John while he set the charges around his body. "I have found out much about you, John. I have discovered the name you now go by is not your real name."
"How do you know that?" John asked. "Have you found my birth certificate in the rubble somewhere?"
"No, I've had my terminators do some aggressive questioning of prisoners. From the information I have collected I have found out your real name is Gustave."
"Wow, that's it. Am I supposed to be frightened by that?"
"You should be frightened by the fact the same human who gave up your real name also gave up your mother's name, Christine Daae, a former opera singer."
John laid out the last stick of dynamite and started unspooling the wire that attached them all together. "If you survive this you can write a wonderful biography of me. I still don't see why you are telling me any of this. What is the significance?"
"The significance of this is that I have recently developed time travel technology. I intend to send one of my cybernetic terminators back through time to kill your mother and wipe out your existence. Right now my terminators are in place to send it back through time. Without you to lead the resistance they will be nothing, and I will eliminate the human race."
"Sounds like a fanciful story. Too bad it's completely implausible." John answered as he walked backwards out the door.
Number 27 looked up through the hole in the roof when he heard the sound of the Hunter Killer engines. They hovered in place for a second before they dropped through the hole and came down into the theater. Number 27 had cleared out the chairs so they had a flat space to land on. The first Hunter Killer landed his cargo of the time displacement equipment on the ground and detached it. The second did the same with the capsule he was carrying. 27 opened it to reveal the cyborg, knelt and in stasis mode. He carried it over to the time displacement equipment as the Hunter Killers started firing at the entrance to the theatre. He knew they were firing at the humans that had followed them. The time they had for sending the cyborg back was short. He needed the other terminators to come through with their mission.
The four terminators that were rummaging through the opera house were looking for any scrap of information that would give them a time frame for sending back the terminator. They knew the mother of John Connor had sung hear and they assumed there would be something that would tell them exactly when she could be found at this location.
The terminators worked quickly and it wasn't long until they found exactly what they were looking for. One of them came across an old poster for a performance of Cleopatra. It listed Christine Daae as the star of the show and listed the dates and times of the performances. They now had all the information they needed and the terminator who found it messaged it to number 27.
The humans succeeded in blasting apart the Hunter Killers just as 27 received the information he needed. He relayed it to the computer of the time machine and in a flash the cybernetic terminator disappeared. When it was sent through time it was activated out of stasis mode.
"What happened?" Reese heard one of the soldiers yell as they saw the machine emit a blinding flash." When Reese could see again he noticed the thing that had been in the middle of the machine had disappeared.
"I don't know what happened, but let's go find out," he shouted as he charged down the aisle. Unbeknownst to the humans and even the terminator guarding the machine, the self-destruct of the time machine was activated the moment it sent the terminator through. The human soldiers were all thrown back by the resulting explosion while 27 was blown to pieces.
"That can't be good," Kyle Reese said as he struggled to his feet. He looked down at the crater the explosion created, wondering what in the hell he had just witnessed.
John continued to walk out of the building, unspooling the wires to the dynamite. He was trembling as he did so because what Skynet had said to him was deeply disturbing. He had to tell himself Skynet was lying, but he found little reason for the machine to do so. There was a good chance he was telling the truth, and if so the terminator he was sending back would be unstoppable in that time. The woman who raised him had been the strongest person he had ever known, yet she had often told him stories of how naive and irresponsible she had been when she was young. He knew that younger version of his mother could never stand up to a terminator.
John walked out the building. The battle around him had died down, but was still raging. He attached the wires to the detonator and pushed in the handle.