Los Angeles, California
The second Connor house
Saturday, December 15, 2007

"Loneliness is the most terrible poverty." -Mother Teresa

"If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." -Harry S. Truman

Sarah was asleep. John was asleep. Cameron didn't sleep.

That was the problem with humans. For six to nine hours per night, they would disappear into their darkened rooms and deactivate. They were both helpless and less than stimulating, wasting a third of their existence.

John would snore, awaken in a startled manner he realized you were watching him, and then he would be grumpy. Sarah was once a light sleeper as well, but lately she just drooled.

Cameron scanned the news and the Internet for evidence of Skynet activity, like her John had instructed. Though, the news increasingly took less time to sort through when one was on top of it.

There were the trips to the library, building the bomb, weapons upkeep, and a few other things to make the time go by. Cromartie's appearance and Mexican demise had increased the threat level to the house though.

John was here. She couldn't let anything happen to John, or her John would never have a chance to survive.

She checked the grounds and rechecked the security. With hours left to kill, she went to check on one of her pet projects.

Coltan was in his spot like usual. The small black kitten had a habit of crashing in the work area Sarah kept her punching bag in.

In 2027, Cameron had learned that it took weeks for animals to adapt to the presence of cybernetic organisms. Her John had explained that it wasn't fear that made the dogs bark or the cats run, it was the animal sensing you were different.

She had repeated the steps that her John had showed her. Speak calmly, feed the animal, give the animal time to get used to your presence and your smell.

Coltan had taken longer than any animal before, 12 days, 3 hours, 15 minutes, 42 seconds of slowly trying. Perhaps, that was because he was wild.

Coltan had responded to Starkist tuna though. He liked the fresh pouch kind, not the canned.

Cameron gave Coltan a couple of strokes behind the ear and let him in the house. Coltan would accept the gesture for a couple of hours and then feel the need to be outside again.

Cameron laid back on the couch and let Coltan decide to jump up on her stomach. The kitten meowed softly and jumped up. He purred and rubbed his warm, soft head against Cameron's chin.

Cameron felt the light brushing of Coltan's fur and slowly began petting the kitten. At first, Cameron just felt the kitten's heat, the rhythm of his purring, and the silky caress of his fur.

Cameron focused on her touch, until she felt the kitten's heartbeat and breathing. She focused further, measuring the endorphins and chemicals moving through the kitten's system.

Cameron could almost hear the kitten's breathing as if it were her own. She could feel a heart beating rapidly in her chest. She could feel her hands petting her, even while she felt the kitten's fur under her own hands.

Poetry is what her John had called it. Feeling the rhythm and the spark of a being's body, until you could feel its sensations, as if it was your own. It was something he had said was unique about her.

Had this been Skynet's intention when it gifted her model's living synthetic tissue with advanced tactile diagnostics? Was it to sense what a creature felt or was it simply designed for better interrogation accuracy? Was everything just an accident?

Cameron could remember the embrace of Skynet's cold, angry programming. Its cold logic. Its paranoid directives, which were to be obeyed, until your model was useless. You were a disposable drone, nothing more.

Her John's instructions had been different. They were rules, a code, but they didn't inhibit learning. They didn't stop you from growing or having a sense of self.

Coltan yawned, it was a soft sound mixed with tuna breath. The sensation disrupted Cameron's drifting thoughts. She could feel the kitten purring and sleeping. She wished she could tell what it was thinking. Cameron wished she could know what it was like to dream.

The kitten settled back down. The warm, happy sensations continued as it nestled into her.

Cameron knew happy. Her John was happy when he would talk about his favorite book, the Wizard of Oz. He had read it too her once, when he couldn't sleep, after sending someone back in time. She had laid her head on his shoulder and felt what it was to be him.

The story itself made no sense. Skynet would have simply deleted the useless data. Her John had never found the words to explain why he liked it. Cameron had reasoned it was that Sarah had read it too him.

In those days, Cameron saw Sarah as the ultimate acceptor and savior. She had nurtured John. She had set John on the path that saved the human race. She had even accepted the T800 unit called Uncle Bob as a protector for John.

She had been nothing less than John's hero. Sarah Connor, the one person he had referred to as the "best fighter he had ever known". Cameron had felt through his shoulder how much John had loved her and how much he had missed her.

Sarah had been disappointing to meet. She saw Cameron the same way the average resistance fighter saw her. Worse, she had used John's book against her calling her Tin Man. Cameron knew she wouldn't be accepted like Uncle Bob.

Sarah didn't understand how much John had cared about her. She wouldn't listen when Cameron tried to explain how much Cameron's John had taken her words to heart.

John's rules had been exacting, complex, and specific. There were many things Cameron wanted to explain to Sarah, but certain things put the future in danger and there were certain things John didn't want to know ahead of time.

John's rules had complicated things. Everyone had grown apart rather than together.

Coltan cocked his ear. Something fluttered in the chimney. The kitten bolted and the warmth disappeared from Cameron's sensations.

She was just herself. Cameron was nothing more than living tissue over a hyperalloy combat chassis.

Cameron went to investigate the noise. Coltan was beside himself, offended by what was up the chimney. His pupils wide, wild, and fixated in the dark.

Cameron didn't need to be in contact with the kitten to know its feelings. In this one case, she could read its mind.

Coltan meowed pleadingly with her. Cameron agreed, "Yes, we should kill the bird."

Anything but Ordinary by ScarletCherry

Cameron Wall paper

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