Chapter 1 - The Great Escape

Allison ran. She was soaking wet, exhausted, terrified. Tears streamed down her face. She was so tired. The wet jumpsuit she was wearing was freezing cold and felt like it weighed a hundred pounds. The only slight warmth she felt was from blood that seeped out of the wounds on her bare feet; cut from the twisted metal and glass shards so common in the ruins of Los Angeles.

She wanted to stop. Her lungs felt as if they were about to explode. Memories of people laying on the battlefields flooded her mind. Their bodies, torn by shrapnel and singed by plasma-fire seemed so calm. Almost serene. For a moment, she closed her eyes and imagined being able to rest.

Her brief serenity brought her back to Palmdale. It was sunny and bright. She felt her toes go through the blades of grass…the sound of children’s laughter. Allison missed a step and tumbled down an embankment. It was so relieving to be on the ground. Her body was numb; she couldn’t even cry anymore. She just lay there, breathing until the whistling sound of a HK’s lift-jets stirred her.

Allison wanted to die. She didn’t want to go back. Back to the prison, to be tortured and interrogated. She didn’t want to say anything else and she didn’t want to help the machines anymore. She was valuable to them so she knew they wouldn’t kill her; they’d just catch her, like an animal and bring her right back.

The only thing that kept her legs moving and her heart beating was the fact that maybe she could also be useful to the resistance. To John Connor. Her experience and interaction with the machines was valuable information and hopefully they could use it to pay those metal bastards back.

Some strength came back to her. She strained to stand and get her bearings. She had to head back to her camp. If she got near, hopefully someone on patrol could help her. The HK passed overhead, as Allison hid beneath some debris. She relaxed a little as it continued on. Allison then started walking again, clutching herself, teeth chattering.

Hours passed. Her jumpsuit was now damp but still freezing. As she crested a ridge, she paused and ducked. About a 100 yards ahead, was a shape; a human shape. Allison tried to make out the figure but it was too dark. She slowly approached until it was only about 30 feet in front of her. It was obviously a person, seemingly hunched over.

She picked up a rock and threw it to the side of the figure. It didn’t move. She whispered to it: “Psst! Psst!” Once again, the figure did nothing. She finally summoned up her courage and walked up to it.

As she got close she became more and more confident it was a man. He was wearing a uniform; a soldier. He sat back on a rock, and appeared to be relaxed. A plasma rifle sat across his lap. Allison was ecstatic. Finally, after all this time, her long ordeal was over.

“Help me! Help me please!” Allison cried, ready to fall into the arms of the soldier.

As she closed the distance between herself and the man, Allison felt a breeze. Instantly, she froze. She smelled the pungent, nauseating odor of burning flesh and plasma discharge. The man was smoking. Finally, Allison got a good look at him.

Allison almost threw up. Sizzling holes, carved by repeated bolts of plasma fire were all over his body and his face. He was obviously dead. Allison collapsed onto the dirt once more, sobbing and cursing everyone and everything.

After what seemed like hours of crying, she realized just how cold she was. She eyed the body in front of her. Despite the multiple holes and burns, the clothing on the man was still in okay shape. Every fiber of her humanity pulled her away from the man, but she needed the clothing.

She held her breath as she approached and removed the rifle from his hands. She was a resistance fighter, so she had been trained to use small arms. She looked in the scope. A green status light and the word: “READY” appeared on the miniature screen. Next, she went through the man’s pockets, one by one and put whatever she could use into a pile beside the corpse.

Finally she began to pull the clothing off the man. It was easy enough, except where the melted skin had stuck to the fabric. She felt like fainting but kept going, finally getting all his clothes off. She used his first aid kit to bandage her feet and put his boots on. She had no time to bury him, so she just covered him with her jumpsuit. “Thank you.” she whispered as tears welled in her eyes.

Just as she began to walk again, Allison heard something a few hundred yards away. The unmistakable sound of hydraulic servos. She used the night scope on the rifle to cut through the blackness surrounding the mechanical sound. It revealed a terminator, looking for prey.

She felt paralyzed. Allison had only fought with the resistance since her 18th birthday. Even in several months of service, she’d only faced a few terminators on the battlefield. Standard military procedure was to avoid them, unless you were defending a position or had a massive advantage in firepower.

She knew she was close to home. Soldiers never patrolled more than a mile or two from their bases. The only thing standing between her and salvation was the most dangerous killing machine ever created. She’d have to make sure it was gone before she continued.

She began to shadow the movements of the terminator. It was a terrifying sight to behold. The inhuman metal skeleton wielded two plasma rifles. The bright, chrome endoskeleton was blackened in some places. In her mind the situation was fairly simple: if she was spotted, she would die.

After some time, it began to walk away from the direction of her camp. She felt some relief but continued to wait. When it was about 200 yards away, she began to scale a hill. A familiar one. Her fear, dread and exhaustion began to be replaced by optimism.

Allison couldn‘t remember what caused it. Whether it was the fatigue or the heavy boots on her injured feet, Allison slipped. She rolled several feet, back down on to some heavy building materials. Her head struck a protrusion in the concrete.

Allison’s vision blurred and she felt dazed. As she regained her composure, she felt her blood run cold. The terminator turned around. In an instant, she saw it gaze at her and make an assessment: terminate. Within a second, blue and purple bolts of plasma fire zipped around her.

Somehow, she wasn’t struck. She had ducked and was pinned down by the machine‘s gunfire. The terminator momentarily ceased it’s onslaught and began to approach. Allison was desperate.

Driven by her hatred, desperation, and the desire of death, Allison peeked over her cover with the rifle in hand. Apparently catching the terminator off guard, Allison looked down the scope and fired. Time seemed to slow down. The purple bolt of light soared out of the rifle and missed the terminator. She fired again, this time hitting it in the shoulder. A shower of sparks erupted from where it was hit but the terminator seemed undamaged.

It had felt like an eternity since she left her cover. She felt naked against the machine’s wrath but she didn’t care anymore. Soon it would be over. Once again, she took a shot, this time hitting the endoskeleton squarely in the head. More sparks showered to the ground but the majority of the plasma was deflected by the terminator’s armor plating.

She pulled the trigger a forth time as a hail storm of plasma fire enveloped her. She was blinded by the light and felt herself collapse onto the concrete. That’s when she knew she was hit. White hot pain shot from just beneath her collar bone. She heard and felt her skin burning. Two small fires burned on her clothing, where the plasma had entered and exited.

She rolled herself over and pressed her cheek against the cold concrete, waiting for the inevitable. Curiously, though, the terminator had stopped approaching. She began to hear gunfire; lots of gunfire.

She forced herself up and looked at the terminator. It was firing all around, at multiple places on the hill. She saw people returning fire. The terminator took a hideous amount of punishment. First, one of it’s legs failed and it collapsed, still shooting with both weapons. Then, one of the terminator’s plasma rifles exploded, it’s power-pack ruptured.

Allison saw at least three of the soldiers die in the battle, but eventually the terminator succumbed to the firepower of the dozen men. The terminator shut down from critical damage to it’s CPU and reactor.

As they approached Allison’s position, they called out. “Is there anyone alive out there?”

“Yes! Yes! Please, help me!” she cried out to them. They all had their weapons ready as she ran towards them. Immediately, they recognized her.

She embraced the leader, crying uncontrollably. The lead soldier hugged her back. “Shh. Shh. It’s okay, you’re safe now.”

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