Los Angeles, California
An upscale restaurant
Monday, December 17, 2007
"The devil is an optimist if he thinks he can make people worse than they are." -Karl Kraus
"Revenge is a dish best served cold". -common through many cultures and often credited to Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
Derek was missing, as usual. John was off somewhere with Riley, like always.
Only Sarah had stayed on mission. Though, Sarah's focus was something that Cameron had not understood.
It had something to do with a dream. The dream seemed to be something re-imaged from what she had subconsciously seen on the wall.
Dreaming was something of a mystery to Cameron. Machines simply didn't.
Without that simple reference point, everything she studied or tried to comprehend, from psychology's dream interpretation to random works of art failed to make sense. It was all Egyptian hieroglyphics without a Rosetta stone for her to decipher it with.
Neither John nor Derek believed Sarah or believed in her dream. Cameron tried to help.
There was a part of Cameron that needed Sarah to be right. That part also knew she wouldn't really comprehend what Sarah was pursuing.
Once again, it was a matter of human instinct and metaphor. Cameron wasn't good with metaphors.
However, needing something to ground herself with, Cameron had grafted her presence to Sarah. Cameron wasn't entirely welcomed, but in this odd loneliness so different from the way things had been only months before, both needed someone to validate the other.
The pair went to investigate another company. This time it was a start up financing firm.
The pair had dressed up and went out to dinner for a meeting. However, much unlike the start up AI firm, this one turned into an obvious nothing.
Sarah had left after posing as an investor and telling the start up firm she was going with another company. The investors had left disappointed. Sarah had gone to the ladies room.
Cameron had waited at the now empty table for Sarah to return for twenty minutes. As the time ticked on her self assurance waned and her dark father's hateful words still rang in her mind, "As a machine, this is the only home you will truly ever know..."
Cameron paid the bill and went to the ladies room. There was no sign of Sarah.
She cased the restaurant. Though the crowd, Cameron saw a glimpse of Sarah's dress at the bar. Old annoyances flared.
She remembered John and Perry with the 132nd, on a winter's night long ago. She disliked anything humans did that lowered their awareness or that put themselves in danger.
Oddly, the annoyance was almost reassuring. It was a return to the familiar, after being so off balance.
Cameron went to rescue Sarah from the bar. Or, at the very least, make sure she returned home safely.
Cameron worked her way through the crowd, slowly seeing more and more of Sarah's form. The voices laughing and talking in the bar mixed from one voice after another that she didn't know.
Finally as she approached, she could hear Sarah say, "That's very sweet, thank you."
Cameron coldly recognized another deep voice that charmingly observed, "You know, you have very pretty eyes."
Her father's alien fear and anger flared. Cameron began frantically working her way through the crowd.
A tall, muscular wall of a human male blocked her from the bar. He smiled an expensive, perfectly manufactured grin as Cameron tried to slip past him.
The man blocked Cameron's passage, as if it were some kind of game. He playfully said, "Do you know who I am baby? This is the luckiest night of your life."
Sarah was in trouble. There was no time. Despite the crowd, Cameron simply threw the man twenty feet into the nearest wall.
As the view cleared, she targeted the head of Louis Rhone. He was two feet from Sarah twirling a long, red, plastic toothpick in his fingers.
As heads were turning towards the thrown man and his assailant, Cameron drew her nine millimeter from her purse. The first shot impacted into Louis's head milliseconds later.
Louis's head sprayed in a predictable way. The effect was not what Cameron had anticipated though.
Metallic flecks of liquid flung off. There were ripples as if Louis's body were composed of water instead of flesh.
Cameron's internal HUD registered. The information displayed as she closed the distance, "TARGET TYPE IDENTIFIED: T1001 MODEL".
Cameron emptied every round in her gun as she closed. It created a large impression of several metallic dents in Louis Rhone's otherwise perfectly undisturbed form.
When the gun was out of bullets, she threw it at him. Milliseconds later, she jumped into his mass landing a punch against his jaw with every ounce of strength she could muster.
Louis's jaw exploded from the force. However, Cameron knew the damage wouldn't maintain.
The entire approach had taken three seconds. The bar was already a mass of screams and retreating people.
Louis's liquid metal body was already adjusting and healing, as he grappled with Cameron. Cameron could already tell he was stronger than her. He was as fast her. He was more resistant to damage than her.
He laughed like some demon from John's religion, saying, "Now why did you have to go and spoil all the fun?"
Three quick shots from Sarah's nine millimeter erupted in Louis's head. He seemed distracted for a moment.
Cameron didn't return Louis's taunts with a word. She kicked as hard as she could into Louis's chest, which drove his body through the bar and the brick wall beyond.
Cameron pursued at her top speed. She knew what Louis had just attempted.
Louis's body was healed and braced when she ran through broken wall his body had made. He rewarded Cameron's pursuit by throwing her through the nearest car's windows and onto the busy street beyond.
Cars slammed on breaks. People in the street screamed and ran.
Cameron regained her footing long enough to watch Louis pick up the car he had hurled her through. His body became silvery as it adjusted its form to the strain and improved its control. Louis took aim.
Six more shoots slammed into Louis's back from inside the restaurant. Louis switched targets and threw the car at Sarah Connor instead.
Cameron slammed into Louis back milliseconds too late. The car hurled through the wall, smashing thing with deafening force inside.
Louis slammed into the ground. As Cameron attempted to punch into his back, he turned metallic and simply reformed in a better position. Now perfectly set up to kick her off, he did so, smashing her into yet another nearby car.
The car's door crumpled from the force of the impact. Cameron peeled her body out of its metallic and plastic wrapping as quickly as she could.
Louis pounced and smashed her back into the car. The impact blew all four of the car's tires and moved it into the street.
Cameron pushed herself out of the car and launched into Louis. Her shoulder smashed into Louis's oncoming form.
There was a crashing sound from the impact. Both flew backwards from the assault.
A second later, they started trading blows in the street. Louis jumped at Cameron with a blind swing. Cameron sent him sailing twenty feet into a mailbox and a wall.
Cameron pursued and found Louis much better prepared. Two seconds later she was sailing into a streetlight.
As the fight wore on Cameron was getting more and more damaged. Louis never did.
He was cocky about it. He was even careless. She got a chance to throw him and sent him sailing down the street thirty feet.
He immediately got up and ran full speed towards her. She did the same towards him.
The impact was harsher than either expected. They created a thunderous crack with the sound of two racing cars crashing headlong. Both were momentarily stunned as they dealt with the shock of their collision.
Louis reacquired bits of himself that had flown off. Cameron fought to regain control of her systems.
Reformed, Louis took a moment to sneer, "What's a matter? Why not just run a diagnostic?"
Louis was so focused on his prey he never saw the headlights behind him. Sarah's Dodge smacked him going over eighty and sent the liquid metal machine flying. The front of the vehicle crumpled slightly as Louis's main mass sailed off, even as small metallic droplets rained everywhere.
Sarah hit the breaks and turned for Cameron. The truck roared towards the female cyborg.
Cameron ran full speed for the slowed truck, aiming for the truck's back. Like she had the day she met Sarah, she moved into the truck from the side as Sarah sped off. Seconds later, she was inside the passenger seat, as Sarah handed her an assault rifle.
As Cameron leaned out the passenger window, she saw that an already reformed Louis was pursuing. The truck was gaining distance, but there was no reason not to fire.
The assault rifle placed four solid rounds into Louis's form. In moments, the vastly slowed terminator disappeared from view. Cameron moved back into the vehicle and reloaded.
Sarah began laughing. Oddly: hurt, disheveled, and bleeding, Sarah seemed back in her element.
Smiling, Sarah simply said, "Perhaps we struck a nerve. I guess that company tonight wasn't a dead end after all."
Cameron looked at Sarah and stated, "We need to ditch and burn the truck. We may have switched the license plates, but the impact in the front is traceable."
Ten minutes later, they were in a stolen car. Because of what needed to be talked about, Cameron had quietly put herself in the driver's seat.
Sarah was still coming off of the euphoria of believing she had been right about the three dots all along. Cameron simply waited for the other questions that would surface soon enough.
Sarah smiled and talked in a manner that Cameron would understand. She technically stated, "That T1000 seemed incredibly lifelike. I've encountered one of those before, but never anything that seemed that human. I didn't even know. How did you?"
Cameron answered honestly, "I knew him. Also, he was a T1001, the upgrade Skynet made after the prototype. According to Skynet's own records, the prototype was the only T1000 ever made."
Sarah simply said, "So you encountered him in the future?"
"So you encountered one of those things in the present and didn't tell me?"
Sarah's smile was gone. Familiar unsatisfied looks crossed her face. "You aren't making any sense Cameron."
"Louis Rhone belongs to a faction John forbade me by direct order to talk to you about. Out of respect to your memory, John didn't want you to know about them or for his younger self to know about them until it was time. When I encountered Louis Rhone a few nights ago, he was human."
Sarah simply stared. Her innate distrust of machines was strongly showing now. Even Cameron could tell that.
Cameron continued, "Do you remember when your son was showing you the visual record from Vick's chip?"
"I'll need your son's help. There is a lot I need to show you. There is a lot I need to show your son and Derek. I'll need the three of you to see it that way."
"It's because you are far more likely to head the words of John Connor than myself."
"This has something to do with the three dots?"
"This has something to do with something far more dangerous than the three dots or anything we've done so far. John's instructions on the subject are quite clear. By direct order: you, your son, and any loyal resistance soldiers left, need to know everything."
Something in what she said furled Sarah's eyebrows. She offered with a distrustful voice, "We shouldn't go back to the house. We'll need a known safe place to meet the other two. How soon should we meet?"
"That's up to you, but it has to be safe. The sooner we do this Sarah, the more likely that everyone survives."
Cameron was silent. Sarah was already on her cell phone.