Chapter 1: The Tin Man's Heart

Chapter 1 “The Tin man’s Heart”

It has always been sad to see a group of people, wearing black dresses, black coats and ties, holding up black umbrellas while the rain poured down on them and tears fell from their eyes. Gathered around the place where they say their last goodbyes to their loved ones.
But this time it’s different. There was no one else around, just two people grieving, a man standing in front of a tombstone, staring at the name etched on the stone, crying silently against the gently pouring rain. Someone walks up behind him, holding up an umbrella, reaching out a hand and finally rest on his shoulder.
“It’s time to go.” Said a gentle voice of a woman.
“I could have done something. Anything.” He looks at the necklace he’s holding in his hand.
“It’s not your fault. I know she doesn’t want you to think that.” She stands beside him, shielding them both from the rain.
“She fought it for three years. Three years, and she didn’t say anything to me. Why did she kept it from me? There are a lot of things that I wanted to tell her, to thank her for. But I didn’t.” He bowed his head then closed his eyes.
“The woman embraced him and said, “She knows it John, she knows it.”
John held her tight then opened his eyes to look at the tombstone once more. In it was the name that will always be a part of him.

After hearing the explosion, Sarah and John ran outside the house. They saw their jeep engulfed in flames.
“Cameron.” Sarah uttered with a concerned look on her face. John looked at his mom and then hurriedly ran back inside.
Suddenly the car’s door flew off when Cameron pushed it with force. And she got out with her jacket still burning.
John came back with a fire extinguisher, but stopped on his tracks when he saw Cameron. Unable to move a step more, Sarah grabbed the fire extinguisher from John’s hands and immediately put the fire out on Cameron.
“John get her inside!” she shouted while trying to extinguish the burning jeep.
John’s feet were glued to where he was standing.
The right side of Cameron’s face was severely damaged. The skin was gone, revealing the skull-like endoskeleton, the teeth and a glowing blue mechanical eye.
John was visibly stunned by what had just happened, staring blankly at Cameron.
She stood still but her eyes were moving left to right. Her vision panel indicates “Component Malfunction”.
“John!” Sarah shouted once more.
John snapped back to reality. Ran towards Cameron and grabbed her arms.
“Ah!” John singed his hand.
Derek who was back from the park, raced over to John.
“What the hell happened?!”
He looked at Cameron, “Wha-?”
“Derek take them both inside!” yelled Sarah.
He hastens to carry Cameron on his shoulder and head towards the house. John followed them holding his singed hand.
Derek lowered Cameron on the dining chair then turned to John.
“You alright?” checking John’s hand.
“I’m fine.” Giving Derek an assuring look.
“Run it under tap water.” Said Derek then went back outside.
The impact of the explosion resulted to Cameron’s automatic system reboot. Leaving her sitting like a statue for a hundred and twenty seconds.
After doing what Derek said, John went to check up on Cameron. He saw that her right arm and shoulder were damaged too. A large part, from the shoulder joint to the elbow exposed the endoskeleton, with some wires badly severed.

Back outside the house, Sarah and Derek contained the fire.
“We have to clean this mess up.” Said Sarah with a hint of urgency. “Before the-“
“Don’t worry, I’m on it.” Interrupted Derek. “Go, John needs you.”
Sarah nodded and then rushed back inside the house. She found John standing by the sink with his hands behind his head looking agitated.
“John are you ok?” asked Sarah.
“Mom she’s not moving.” Looking back at Cameron, “ She’s not responding!”
Sarah was still looking at him.
“Mom the hand is fine.” Showing her his hand, it was slightly reddish but showed no serious injury.
Sarah took a closer look at Cameron, who was still sitting and staring vacantly.
“She said 120 seconds right?” asked Sarah, looking at the damaged side of Cameron’s face.
“But it wasn’t caused by electricity. Do you think she’s-“John stopped abruptly.
“How long has it been?” asked Sarah, taking a step back from Cameron.
“I don’t, I don’t know.” John tried to answer calmly, trying to count on his mind.
“Stay away from her John.” Ordered Sarah on her way to her room.
“Wha- ? Why? Mom!” confused by what she said, he followed her a few steps. Sarah emerged from the room holding a shotgun and a cell phone, going straight past John to the kitchen.
“Mom, what are you- wait!” John said with panic in his voice.
Sarah placed the shotgun on the kitchen counter. John caught up with her.
“What’s the gun for?” asked John.
“Watch her but stay back.” Sarah commanded him and started to dial a number on her cell phone. John didn’t say anything but looked at her inquiringly.
“Cameron might be damaged; she might try to kill you.” She answered bluntly. John seemed astounded by this answer. He just quietly did what he was told.

A man in a bulletproof vest looks down on a pool clustered with bodies of his fallen comrades, floating on their own blood. He’s been staring at it for several minutes now. Drifting away like it was just a nightmare he can recover from.
His cell phone rings, he reaches for it on his pocket.
“Ellison.” Answered the man.
He listened to the person on the other line for a moment.
“I’ll see what I can do.” Then puts the cell phone back on his pocket. A man approaches agent Ellison.
“The other EMTs are on their way. I can’t do this on my own, there’s too-“ he stopped, looking at the scene, devastated.
“Many.” Said agent Ellison, finishing it for him.
“I have to be somewhere, it’s important. Can you make sure-“ He seemed lost for words. The man nodded.
“I will.”
“Thank you Mr. Dixon.” Ellison said.
“Charley.” The man replied.
“Thank you Charley.” Acknowledged agent Ellison.

Cameron’s eyes are still blank. John looks at her from a far, hopefully waiting for a response.
Sarah walks in to the kitchen and puts her cell phone down at the counter.
“Anything?” she moved beside John. Noticing the shotgun still untouched.
“Nothing.” John said obliviously.
“I told you to watch her.” Said Sarah.
“I am mom.” Said John who was slightly irritated. Not looking at Sarah.
“I meant take the shotgun and be ready.” Said Sarah firmly.
“Be ready for what mom?” His tone slightly rising.

Sarah was taken aback by John’s reaction.
“She was in an explosion. We don’t know how much damage she sustained. Don’t be so stubborn, John. It wouldn’t hurt to be careful.” She replied anxiously.
“You know how much you mean to me. And to the future.” Sarah added.
Sarah’s words appeared to have a calming effect on her son.
“I’m sorry.” John said sincerely.
Sarah moved towards Cameron then looked back at John and said, “I understand,” then gazed at Cameron, “I know she’s important, she’s protecting you. I’m worried too but we can’t do anything.”
At this moment, Cameron’s eyes glowed blue. She looked up and scanned Sarah’s face. Her vision was a bit hazy. Then turned and did the same to John. Sarah instinctively seized the shotgun on the counter and pointed it to the awakened Cameron. Her HUD indicates. “Identity: John Connor. Objective: Protect.”
“John get out of here!” yelled Sarah who was bracing herself.
Cameron stood up and stared at Sarah. Sarah cocked the shotgun.
John shouted at Cameron, “What is your mission?”
Cameron answered mechanically, “Find John and Sarah Connor, Protect them at all cost.”
Sarah lowered the shotgun. Cameron looked at her inquisitively.
“Just in case you’ve gone bad.” Explained Sarah who still seemed skeptical.
“Thank you for explaining.” said Cameron.
“You said you guys were programmed to repair yourselves, is that right?” asked Sarah.
“Yes.” Replied Cameron.
“Then get to it.” Instructed Sarah.

Cameron walks past Sarah to go to her room. John made to follow her was grabbed by Sarah on his arm.
“No John. She might be lying. She did it before, she’ll do it again.”
“Not about this.” John said boldly then continued, “I sent her to find us, to protect us. I’m the one who reprogrammed her. You should trust me mom, not her.”
Sarah looked at her son for a moment and realized her defeat.
John left her standing there thinking about what Cameron told her about the future John, “He does these things.” It finally dawned on her that she can never dictate John; she can only guide him and let him be the man he truly is. A Leader.

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