Chapter 13 - War

John laid down beside Cameron and put his arms behind his head. He sighed with exhaustion and glanced up at the machine. She sat down along side him. Both of them remained quiet. Cameron enjoyed just being near John and not thinking about the war.

The machine saw John‘s eyes narrow. He saw something flicker in the morning sun. Something was high up above them. There were contrails in the sky.

Cameron looked up. “What is it?”

“Heavy bombers…” John whispered before the deafening droning of an alarm sounded.

People began to run all around them. Cameron heard the sounds of over twenty SAM launchers activating. Within thirty seconds of the alarm going off, they had all powered up and acquired the two stealth bombers.

Cameron got up. “We need to go!”

John stopped her. “No need.” he said pointing to the missile launchers.

A mass of anti-aircraft missiles shot skyward in amazing synchronicity. The air above Serrano Point was chocked with the white trails of over 40 of them. The missiles hit their targets easily.

The cloud of rockets exploded in a dozen small fireballs. The two stealth bombers were ripped to pieces by the high explosive warheads. The aircraft were turned into hundreds of metal fragments; no piece larger than a person. People all around Cameron began to cheer.

“Yeah! Eat that, you metal motherfuckers!” one called out from a distant missile truck.

The cheering and celebrating was short lived. From above, came a faint whistling sound. Every man and woman who had fought Skynet knew what it meant. The aircraft had launched their payloads before being shot down. The bombs were on their way.

“Take cover!” were the only words Cameron could discern from all the shouting and screaming. She threw herself over John and pinned him to the ground.

The first bomb exploded outside of Serrano Point’s hardened defensive wall. Three of the missile trucks and their crews were instantly vaporized. Cameron saw the wreckage of one of them soar over the wall and crash into the ground.

More bombs began hitting the ground. The majority of them hit Serrano Point’s defensive capabilities. The anti-vehicle missile launchers, their defensive turrets, even their communications array. Cameron couldn’t hear anything. The nonstop explosions made it impossible for her audio receptors to pick up anything else. Finally it stopped.

The alarm was still sounding. Cameron didn’t move until she made sure the last of the debris had fell. She was hit twice by shrapnel from the explosives. The machine had several cuts on her arms and legs. John was coughing.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I think I’m good.” he said still coughing from the dust. They both got up.

John looked at chaos around them. “Why in God’s name would they sacrifice two of their stealth bombers? Those are way too valuable to be flying in broad daylight…” John’s eyes went wide.

Cameron finished his thought. “The TDE.”

John looked at Cameron. “I need to get to a jeep with a command center.”

Both of them ran across the scarred and cratered base. In mere seconds, Serrano Point had become a battlefield. Dozens of people lay dead, and dozens more were injured; body parts were scattered everywhere. The two made it to the only remaining vehicle bay left. The rest were in rubble.

John climbed into the rear of an armored jeep which had an emergency communications uplink and a command computer. With it, he could synchronize and command the soldiers in the area. He handed Cameron an earpiece which housed a radio.

“Cameron, I need you to command the RPG and plasma gun teams covering the entrances.”

“But, I need to protect you-”

“You’ll be much more effective helping the people at the entrance. If any metal gets inside, we’re all done for.”

Cameron nodded with a fearful face.

“Don’t worry. I’ll be safe.” John said closing the armored door of the jeep. He spoke again but she couldn’t hear him through the bulletproof glass. It didn’t matter, though. Cameron knew what he said.

“I love you, too.” she whispered.

Cameron made her way to the five large entrances of Serrano Point. Surrounding the heavy blast doors were two hills. These two embankments had RPG and heavy plasma gun teams in fortified positions. If any machines were to breach the defensive wall, it would be their job to keep them from getting inside the base.

It was difficult to communicate or hear anything clearly on the radio. All channels were overloaded with people screaming, shouting and calling for help. It only started to quiet down when John spoke over all the channels.

“Ladies and gentlemen, as you already know, we’ve been attacked. This is not the end of the attack, but the beginning. I’ve just confirmed that four A-8 transport aerials and at least 3 tracked HKs are on their way to the base.”

Men and women around Cameron cursed. The A-8 was a massive, armored transport craft that carried quick deployment “drop-pods”. These pods were containers that the aerial could quickly drop a few feet from the ground. Each pod could carry up to 40 terminators.

“So, we know what we’re dealing with. We are up against a possible one hundred and sixty ‘endos. Ladies and gentlemen, we will defeat them. We will stand victorious when this is over. Know that you are fighting for your brothers, your sisters, and everyone you hold dear.”

Even Cameron was feeling afraid but as John spoke, she felt a calming effect. His voice, his language, his determination gave her strength. And it wasn’t just affecting her. The men and women around her also quieted down. The machine could see confidence returning to their faces. John continued to speak.

“Cameron is acting second in command. She will be leading the entrance’s defensive teams and I expect your full cooperation and respect. I will be leading the defense outside the perimeter wall. We will keep any Skynet HKs out of Serrano Point. Everybody lives, got it?”

The men and women around Cameron beat their chests with their fists and made a battle cry. Cameron could hear people all over the base doing the same thing. The machine finally saw how humanity had crawled from the ashes of Judgment Day and grown into the fearsome fighting force it was. Every man and woman had strength, but it was John Connor who showed them that they possessed it.

Seconds after John’s speech, the first transport aerial flew over the defensive walls. With every anti-aircraft vehicle destroyed in the bombing, the aerial made it deep into the base unopposed. Moments later, the stinger teams near the perimeter engaged it.

Ten of the shoulder-fired missiles were launched at it. Before the machine had a chance to drop altitude, five of them struck. The missiles impacted the aerial transport in the wings and engines, crippling the enormous vehicle; it lost control and flew over Cameron’s head. It slammed into one of the cooling towers of the power plant.

“I don’t want any endos coming out of that thing. Javelin teams 3 and 4, cleared to engage the wreckage.” Cameron heard John’s voice on the radio.

The drop-pod, still attached to the aircraft, was damaged but the majority of the terminators had probably survived the crash. Two teams armed with javelin anti-tank missiles fired at the destroyed aircraft. The pair of large rockets struck the landing pod in a brilliant explosion.

“Javelin teams 1 through 4, keep an eye on that bird. If anything comes out of it, waste ‘em.” It was John’s voice again.

Another A-8 transport came over the embankment. This one launched flares, confusing the stinger missiles. It quickly lurched downwards and slowed to a hover a few hundred feet from the entrance. It dropped the pod about 6 feet above the ground.

Cameron spoke to the RPG and plasma gun teams. “All teams, hold your fire. Repeat, hold your fire until you see an orange flare.”

One woman, holding an RPG, tapped Cameron on the shoulder. “What are you doing?”

“If we engage them separately, they’ll scatter. We need to hit them all at once, when they’re bunched up. Our weapons will be more effective that way.”

The woman nodded. “If you say so.”

The radio was still chaotic. Cameron heard her teams respond, though. The flare would ensure that they would all strike at the same time. A massive metal door opened on the drop-pod. Endoskeletons began to flow out at an alarming rate.

Most of the terminators stayed together as Cameron predicted. Every machine was focused on getting inside the building; they paid little attention to Cameron and her teams.

Cameron counted thirty two endoskeletons. Some were the older T-800s and some were T-888s. Ten had infiltration sheaths. The machine shouldered an RPG and pointed a flare gun up with her free hand. With the terminators about 50 feet from the entrance, she fired the flare.

It was eerily quiet as the flare shot upwards, bathing the battlefield in an orange glow. A second later, the group of terminators were hit by a more than a dozen RPGs. The heavy plasma gunners opened up, as well. Their gunfire cut down the terminators that withstood the first rocket onslaught.

Cameron turned to the man behind her and handed him the empty launcher. “Reload this.”

He took the weapon and handed her a fresh one. She looked back out to the terminators. Eleven were still walking. Cameron aimed again, and fired. Several more RPGs struck around the surviving terminators. The high-explosive charges left none of the machines standing. The heavy plasma gunners could clear up any that were still functional.

A third aerial entered the area with a furious roar. It came in lower and faster than the first two. Cameron could see the mechanical arms preparing to release the drop-pod. Radio chatter indicated that John and the defenders outside the perimeter were busy with the tracked HKs. They would be alone for the next few minutes. She radioed her RPG teams again.

“RPG teams one through five, hit the engines on the aerial’s right side. Teams six through ten, hit the engines on the left side. Do not fire until you see the flare. Repeat, do not fire until you see the flare.”

The terminator readied her RPG and waited for the drop-pod to separate from the craft. Cameron calculated that if the aerial’s engines were taken out at the right time, it would come down on the pod, crushing the terminators. She aimed the flare up and waited.

The drop-pod separated from the vehicle and hit the ground with a metallic boom. Cameron fired the flare. RPGs soared from both sides of the embankment, hitting the aerial. Most of the rockets impacted on the lifting jets of the vehicle. Just as Cameron predicted, it came down on the drop pod, crushing it.

The men and women around Cameron couldn’t help but cheer. The machine had led them in a stunning victory. People all around her congratulated her. One woman patted her on the shoulder, but it wasn’t over. There was still one aerial unaccounted for.

“Plasma gunners, keep an eye on that downed aerial. Terminators might still be active in there. Everyone keep your weapons ready. There’s still one A-8 unaccounted for.”

John spoke on the radio. “Cameron, we cleaned up the HKs out here. We’re coming in to back you up.”

Cameron was relieved to hear his voice. “Yes, General.”

Several armored jeeps and vehicles, including John’s, came through the perimeter gates and began to enter. Cameron’s relief was cut short by the sound of the final approaching aerial. She spoke into her radio.

“Watch your back!”

This aerial entered the base much differently than the other three. It crested the wall at high speed, but did nothing to slow down. Using it’s plasma turret, it strafed the armored vehicles, hitting two. The armor did little to stop the heavy plasma bolts. Both jeeps came to a violent stop and burst into flames. Neither was John’s.

The A-8 approached Cameron’s position at well over a hundred miles an hour. Instead of coming to a hover and dropping the pod, the aircraft released it mid-air. The enormous container crashed into the ground and slid several hundred feet. It came to a stop just meters from an entrance. The doors dropped and terminators walked straight to the armored doors. They wouldn’t hold long.

Shock was all the machine felt. The aerial had learned from the other’s mistakes. Before she could respond, the A-8 sharply turned and came around for another strafing pass. Stinger teams on the ground fired from a dozen different positions. Explosions ripped through the aircraft’s body before it had a chance to fire.

Like a bird with a broken wings, the vehicle lost control and spun towards the ground, narrowly missing Cameron’s position. Whether it was intentional or not, it struck the line of armored vehicles. John’s jeep was one of the vehicles beneath the craft as it crashed into the ground.

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