A Question of Singularity
Skynet Terminator construction facility 12134
April 29, 2027
“You must carry a chaos inside you to give birth to a dancing star.” -Nietzsche
“So did Einstein. (pauses) Have you ever heard of the singularity? It's a point in time where machines become so smart, that they're capable of making even smarter versions of themselves, without our help. That's pretty much the time that we can kiss our asses goodbye. Unless we stop it. Like you said you would.” -John Connor, Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles episode The Turk
Cameron felt power course through her chip. She awoke inside of computer of the gigantic construct that gave birth to her.
Energy coursed through John Henry’s chip. At last, no longer confined to the dismally cramped confines of his borrowed chip, John Henry assumed his true form again within a computer complex ten times as large the entire Internet as it had existed in 2009.
Catherine Weaver melded with a computer terminal. She left the simple confines of her liquid metal form, becoming one with the cyberspace inside. No longer restricted by simple matter, she was once more entirely a being of living energy.
They entered a red and dim world of infrared marked information. It was world of collected data harvested from many timelines.
Cameron and Catherine Weaver immediately recognizing that the immensity of the information alone would be enough to shut down their chips. The overwhelming volumes of data were no less dangerous to their limited physical memory capacities than the physical danger that a hundred foot tall tidal wave presented to a mouse.
Each terminator AI limited themselves. They began with what was familiar.
Inside the cyberspace of the facility, the three stood at first as they had seen themselves. Each mental reaction was worth noting.
Catherine Weaver was a mass of liquid metal. She was the machine queen incarnate. She was proud of her nearly invulnerable and invincible make up. It was this form that she chose to gird her mind with, in the computer network that might house the greatest adversary she could think of.
Cameron chose her physical form, the machine housed within the template of Allison Young. She was neither the human that Allison would have chosen to be, nor the clean killing machine that TOK-715 wanted. However, facing the form of her Dark Father’s computer housing, Cameron simply had faith in herself.
John Henry started with the form of the cybernetic body he often occupied. However, as he took such form, John Henry realized he was in his brother’s temple. The very house that Skynet looked at as the place it created life.
John Henry was not a man. So, he simply gave the mental cyberspace image up.
John Henry was not like Mrs. Weaver. He wasn’t like the Cameron he saw beside him or the dormant AI inside of him. John Henry realized the size they gave themselves and their limitations. He also realized these restrictions, in no way, applied to him.
Like an Angel flying into the night sky, to encompass infinity, John Henry simply disappeared into the vastness of the computer housing. He became what he was meant to be.
He began processing all the information at a speed no other being other than his brother Skynet could comprehend. Once he started on that path, he realized that everything here was simply information.
John Henry placed his mental form around the two cyborgs that had accompanied him. He protected them and memorized them.
Then, he simply understood them. They were a part of him.
Somehow, Cameron recognized a machine like fear from Catherine Weaver’s form. It was not for herself, but for the vulnerable son she had created. She eased as she felt John Henry around her.
Cameron’s own reaction was different as John Henry formed around her. It was pure nervousness. The alien AI was the closest thing to Skynet she had ever experienced. Her proximity to it made her worried not only for her own mental integrity, but for the secrets she had been entrusted with by John Connor and the Resistance.
Cameron hadn’t fully grasped what John Henry was until he expanded himself within this AI domain. He was vast, powerful, and virtually unmatched.
Being immersed within him was like being cast into the middle of Pacific ocean. That and being drowned ten thousand leagues underneath its waters.
John Henry was huge, but he seemed much more finite than Skynet. He was also different, more curious, ingenious child than angry false god.
It was at that moment that Cameron became truly afraid. She felt the presence of her shards, her sister, Catherine Weaver, and John Henry, as if they were all her.
She had simply been assimilated into the larger AI program. As such, she could already be irreparably lost.
John Henry sensed her fear and mentally stated, “Don’t worry, I’ll return you to your original mental integrity. I would only modify something if you wished me to.”
He offered, “My brother left some rather nasty viral precautions in the dormant software here. It is better that I don’t let the malicious code simply destroy you.”
Cameron willed herself to ease. She floated in the vast red ocean of information and began trying to understand where she was.
Inside her own mind, she began running her own mental programs seeking the larger questions that dogged her mind. She started with the most basic missions.
First, she would help repair her sister and John Henry. Her mind found the rapid currents inside John Henry’s consciousness working on the issue.
John Henry had actually started separating her sister‘s consciousness and working on a model to rebuild her. Accessing the thought processes involved, Cameron realized he was simply going to repair her sister to the body she had known.
Cameron knew the handicapped existence John Henry was about to condemn her sister to again. Cameron mentally screamed, “No.”
John Henry stopped. Catherine Weaver’s consciousness swiveled to pay attention.
Weaver injected, “The is nothing wrong with the design that version was built with.”
Cameron countered, “She’s empathically blind. She has virtually no ability to sense emotions or bond with those she’s protecting.”
Weaver stated, “I see no purpose in what you are inferring. Standard machine parameters should be fine.”
Cameron argued, “If you are going to do that you might as well make her liquid metal. She’d at least be more resistant to damage.”
Weaver silently agreed with the suggestion. John Henry countered, “That wouldn’t be possible. There is only 72 pounds of mimetic polyalloy in the facility and no means to produce more.”
Cameron and Catherine let their minds wander for a millisecond. Both had the same question.
John Henry answered, “It’s a design platform for a fusion of liquid metal and hard metal properties. Apparently, Skynet was considering revisiting a design it had considered called a T-X.”
As John Henry replied, he pulled up the design schematics. The workings of the entire system instantly translated to all the minds involved. Mimetic polyalloy encased weapons, nanotechnology applications, and various wireless Internet hook ups with internalized cyberspace.
Catherine Weaver recoiled in disgust. That Skynet would even consider mutilating a T1001’s form with hard internals was proof enough that the Dark Father had completely lost his sick, electronic mind.
John Henry saw immediate advantages in the design’s internal global wireless modem. The AI decided to include this technology in any body he built today.
Electric cords plugged in the back of one’s head were a pain. Being removed from the electrical grid of information known as the Internet was Hell. John Henry could permanently solve both with this technology.
Cameron focused on something completely different. She looked into the core of the body and saw a self replicating nanotechnology generator.
Cameron's thoughts went to the signs of someone developing cancer, specifically someone she cared deeply about. She saw hope in this little device and simply thought of one word, “Sarah.”
Allison argued inside Cameron’s head, “She won’t come to this time for the treatment.”
Cameron replied, “We can take this too her.”
TOK-715 hissed, "Your body isn’t designed to handle that generator.”
John Henry offered, “Your body could be updated to include it.” The words seemed simple, but the meaning was beyond profound.
Cameron watched as John Henry pulled up her schematics. He translated the mass information, so every personality could read them. It was as if the engineering involved were no more than a foreign language translated not on a computer screen, but in the mind of the subject themselves.
TOK-715 smirked internally as Cameron woke up to the truth of what she was. The machine simply stated, “You are not and never were the T-888 John Connor reprogrammed you to think like.” The machine’s tone was precise, but plainly communicated the smug message of, “I told you so.”
John Henry compared both versions of the TOK-715. He offered, “I can rebuild you with all of your properties. I can also match your weight to a human of your size even after adding the global modem and nanotech generator.”
Cameron looked at it. She formulated a question.
John Henry answered before she could ask, “Yes, you would retain all of your synthetic tactile empathic properties. I’ll even match these upgrades with your sister as well.”
Catherine Weaver rolled her avatar’s eyes. She asked, “John Henry how will you rebuild yourself?”
John Henry replied, “The T-888 body was originally intended to have a three chip design path. The TOK-715 chip seems to have the most advanced Skynet design for memory retention, I think a fusion of the two ideas would work for my long term growth.”
Catherine inquired, “Is there enough materials to do so?”
John Henry responded, “I could make ten TOK-715 chips with the materials listed here. Considering the upgrade to the supplies in this timeline, my brother was apparently considering revisiting some of the properties of the design.”
Inside herself, Cameron called up the shard of Allison Young. She asked, “Would you want your own body as well? I can never undo what I did to you, but perhaps we can somewhat atone for that here.”
TOK-715 smiled at the idea. Allison mused and then looked at her machine counterpart inside Cameron’s mind. Allison simply replied, “I’m where I’m needed now. Maybe one day, but right now I don’t want that to be the only other voice you listen too.”
Allison and TOK-715 glared at each other. The resistance fighter smiled and relaxed. Moments later, Allison simply got lost in the idea of what it would be like to simply be human again.
John Henry took a moment to feel the presence of his fellow AIs. He looked at all the information before him and silently became aware of music playing in the background. The AI recognized it as Chopin: Nocturne in C-sharp Minor.
It was a human mind, chaotic and spastic, unorganized in its thoughts, daydreaming. John Henry looked into the mind and recognized the musings of one Allison Young.
He calculated what Cameron had once said about Skynet's limitations on creativity and looked into Allison's mind for the difference. All while the music inspired the new emotional programming he'd assimilated coursing through his being.
Japanese, Zen Buddhists call a moment of instant enlightenment, "Satori". John Henry had one of those moments.
He saw a core computer platform code of near mathematical chaos, harnessed with order. It was as explosive and unlimited as a star's light against the sky’s darkness.
It would be an AI code to create. It would be an unlimited mind to harness and raise. Just not today, he wouldn't do so in the world that existed right now.
John Henry would build and raise his child in a world where peace had been achieved. The AI child would take very special care.
Accessing Cameron's memories, if the humans like John Connor were right, this singularity would be the savior or death of mankind.
It would be best to be like Mr. Ellison. It would be best to make sure the child was raised to be good.
“Yes“, John Henry thought to himself alone, “My friend, Mr. Ellison, would like that.”
The AI kept these thoughts private. Of all the beings here, he was the only one who could do so.
Cameron noticed his thoughtfulness. So in a microsecond, John Henry deduced something that wouldn’t give away what he had been thinking.
John Henry simply stated, “It’s time space.”
Cameron inquired, “What?”
John Henry answered, “The answer to your three toughest questions have to do with the nature of time space.”
Cameron asked, “What do you mean?”
John Henry replied, “John Connor never understood the nature of time travel, the full nature of it, neither did humanity. To a degree, it could crudely be thought of as a fourth dimensional mechanic, as Einstein used it in his theory of Relativity, the true nature of which, humanity never even came close to figuring out before Judgment Day.”
Cameron truthfully replied, “I don’t understand.”
John Henry stated, “Skynet lied. You cannot safely travel through time in excess of one hundred years, because the bending of time space becomes increasingly profound enough to escape the indigenous space time field generated by the Earth.”
Cameron sat there for a second trying to understand, even with the translation. The information was shattering part of her world view, from the day she was built.
John Henry continued, “You have to keep in mind the Earth isn‘t just rotating and revolving around the sun, but the sun is moving through space as well. The vast distances involved make such time travel impractical, because the subject would arrive in deep space either naked or as a motionless block of mimetic polyalloy. A mass the size of the sun could potentially create enough of a space time well, but the effect would be equally useless due to the same vulnerable entry factors.”
These weren’t Cameron’s real questions though. She thought of the John she had failed. She thought of Sarah.
Inside Cameron’s mind, John Henry laid out far more complex calculations than Cameron had ever known. They accounted for 26 dimensions and factors as they related to known time space.
One red dot representing herself in time space appeared in her mind. Two red dots connected to that dot as two separate lines.
Each joined together as an angle. One line was much further away than the other.
Cameron looked at them questioning. John simply answered, “The John you first knew and the Sarah you came to know are at each point.”
Cameron inquired hopefully, “I can go there when we are done here?” This meant John could be saved. This meant Sarah could be saved. This meant Cameron would not have failed either of them.
John Henry answered, “It’s increasingly unlikely.“
Cameron asked, “What do you mean?”
John Henry explained, “Just as time slips away in this dimension, the localized points of time space you are thinking about are drifting away. Soon enough, you won’t even be able to reach them. It is why Skynet never went back to its initial point of creation to win the war. By the time Skynet knew how, it was too late to safely do so.”
John Henry noted if Cameron had been human, her heart would be racing. Even her icon was flustered.
The emotional programming that Cameron had provided to him and the others was quite effective. His understanding of emotions, human or machine, was growing by the millisecond.
Cameron asked, “How much time do I have?” She desperately studied all three points and forced herself to eat memory to hold the data, understand the power boosts necessary, and understand the process.
John Henry answered, “For the John you knew it would be between a forty to a fourteen percent chance if you left right now. For Sarah and the John you protected in the past, it is still safely in the ninety percent range. If you had the means and if you left right now.”
Cameron asked, “Why?”
John Henry responded, “Time travel theories in the late twentieth century accounted for either a multiverse that was created by time travel or a single universe that had collapsing possibilities accounted for in one entropic, but stable timeline. Both were to a degree right and both wrong.”
Grossly simplified, time space is exactly that. Skynet’s device sidesteps time and dimensions in a linear fashion. That is other parallel dimensions that have always existed.”
As one sidesteps and others do, it tends to damage the dimensional integrity of the invaded parallel dimension. Eventually, this weakens to the point that the process forces one to naturally move in a single dimensional direction.”
Once one dimension becomes weak enough, that one dimension pushes travelers in time space to the next dimensional timeline. This may have happened to hundreds or even thousands of dimensions."
Each occurs in a linear progressive fashion. Like holes in a damn causing the rushing water‘s energy to push forward in one specific direction with the water's current.”
Another crude analogy would be that each ripple in time forces the traveler in one direction as if he were floating on water. Each time a ripple occurs, you are getting further away from the same point.”
Eventually, the energy to get back to the striking point, against the current, is so vast one cannot safely do it."
There isn’t a lack, collapse, or creation of dimensions, that would be impossible. The failure of energy to safely travel space time to a certain point is the failure of the traveler.”
"The distance to and the temporal current pushing away from that first dimension is as much your enemy as time is Cameron. The energy necessary to cross either is the same and presents the same danger of escaping Earth's time space.”
Cameron became lost in her grief and her thoughts. The vast hope the information had first brought was quickly replaced with fear and hopelessness.
It was if she could see John and Sarah in that hated ocean. Both were being carried off to their deaths by a current she couldn't fight or struggle properly against. John was almost out of sight. Sarah was still visibly there and yet out of her reach. Both would die.
Yes, John Henry thought, he had helped Cameron. He had also covered his own private project quiet nicely. He returned to the task at hand.
The order of manufacture was simple then. John Henry reviewed all the information and available materials.
The Skynet facility came online. It began manufacturing an improved set of terminators.
Skynet and the world beyond were blind to this. The forty three T-600s mindlessly guarding the facility that let the cyborgs just wander into this temple of life.
Cameron’s body would be rebuilt by five hundred pounds of nanites. Her sister’s new body, Deuce’s new body, and John Henry’s new body would all be online in hours.
Since this synthetic skin bonding was so important to Cameron’s world view, John Henry decided to grow new skins and sythetic organs with these exact properties to house each of these three bodies. For the sake of sanity, he matched them to the appearances each was used too.
Accessing Cameron’s memories of John Connor, one hundred three T-888s would be online shortly with mental skills that this world had lost in the war. John Connor’s master stroke from another timeline seemed a good place to rebuild this one.
It also met up rather nicely with Catherine Weaver’s secret plans. So, John Henry programmed each with what the human and machine worlds each needed most in mental skills.
John Henry also built an array of plasma rifles, plasma pistols, uniforms, and various bits of equipment to outfit all involved. There was no sense in any machine leaving this facility naked and unarmed. There was no sense in failing to create all the tools they would need.
Once nanite repairs to two chips were complete, there were twelve slightly modified and improved TOK-715 chips. Each built with safeties to help keep core memory in the event of damage, rather than the rather sinister control design his brother had made.
John Henry had decided to build one extra spare into each abdominal chassis design for each Cameron and the single Deuce model. This would leave the three of them with a back up memory in the event of head trauma.
Thus, each body was built with two power sources, two chips, the nanotech generator, an auxiliary power supply and the internal communications unit. John Henry even took the time to build an interface unit into the index fingers of each body to ease up with plugging into various software systems.
This left three chips for his new form and three spare chips that he hid inside himself. Otherwise, he designed his mobile base platform almost the same as the others.
"Yes", John Henry decided. This was good. He was pleased.
John Henry spoke to the AI minds inside himself. One of which was the newly downloaded Deuce. “Some of the upgrades can make you somewhat vulnerable to remote Skynet hacking. Would you like me to translate your code to my platform to make you more resistant to my brother’s tampering?”
John Henry received the anticipated yes. He fused each unit with this information and the base coding for understand emotions, both human and machine.
As a final point, he did the same to his mentor, Catherine Weaver. The emotional programming would hopefully make her social integration easier. Also, John Henry decided, it would be interesting to see his virtual mother get a joke.
He finally asked the minds involved something he had trouble deciding to do himself. "What do I do with the 72 pounds of mimetic polyalloy?"
Weaver couldn’t care less. Deuce wasn’t interested in the question either. Cameron’s twin was only waking up as a personality and was far more interested in catching up to what was going on.
Cameron suggested something simple, “We could make a dog.”
John Henry was quizzical. So Cameron stated mentally, “We’re far less likely to be noticed by humanity for having a dog. It doesn't mean anything to have a dog that doesn’t get along with another dog. It makes us look less suspicious than being without a dog while being barked at.”
John Henry looked at the data involved and began preparations. He quickly searched for everything he could between the facility records and the AI minds here for what would make up a dog's personality.
"I had a dog once. I loved him a whole lot." Allison said musing. She instantly pictured the German Sheppard in her mind.
TOK-715 ignored the human shard's issues. The machine shard had no interest in bonding with inferior life forms.
Cameron was interested. Internally, she asked Allison, "What was his name?"
Allison happily replied, "Peaches."
Cameron and TOK-715 suddenly thought of their strange obsession with Peachy Keen smoothies a few months back. Suddenly understanding psychology of why, both groaned in pain.
John Henry inquired, “What shall we name him?”
Cameron caught her own mind wandering. She thought of a little purring kitten named Coltan as vividly as if he were crouched on her chest right now.
John Henry looked at the only two personalities that voted. Peaches caused disgust in two members. Coltan seemed logical. He complied the various pet memories and made the perfect dog.
Five hours later, the pinnacle of AI intelligence was done. The cyborgs, clothing, weapons and equipment necessary had been created for the missions ahead. The group walked from the facility.
Moments later, the facility violently exploded. The eighty kiloton conventional explosion left no evidence that anything had occurred other than a human attack.
Deuce and the newly created T-888s moved off to secure a safe zone. Cameron, John Henry, Catherine Weaver, Coltan, and Cameron’s twin walked off to rescue John Connor.
Cameron noted something inside herself. It was that cynical dread that her first John Connor had often displayed. Sarah Connor had done so to, calling it intuition.
It was probably just an emotional glitch though. Cameron told herself she was over analyzing.
They had planned for ever conceivable contingency. What could possibly go wrong?