Chapter 15 - Past Endeavors


*****WARNING*****

*GYROSCOPIC BALANCE UNIT DAMAGED*

*AUXILIARY GYROCOPIC UNITS DAMAGED*

*UNIT STANDING/WALKING/RUNNING CAPACITY COMPROMISED*

*****WARNING*****

For a short moment, Cameron felt weightless. Her body, not sensing gravity, automatically assumed that the hardware associated with her balance was damaged. A second after John’s face disappeared, it became calm.

Her hair floated in the air; her clothes had vaporized in the flash of white light, briefly causing the machine pain. Cameron looked around but could only see overpowering white light. Looking down, she could barely see her body. Cycling through her various visual modes did nothing to help.

Cameron began to sense what felt like wind on her skin. It began to blow stronger and stronger, whistling in her ears. The machine felt like she was falling. The faint whistle of the wind grew into a deafening roar.

She could hear voices. Most of them sounded like the technicians operating the TDE. Cameron wondered if something had gone wrong or if this was normal. She heard John’s voice again. It echoed around her.

“I love you.”

After a few seconds, the machine sensed solid earth beneath her skin. She crouched low and balanced herself with a hand to the ground. The bubble of white light surrounding her disappeared and the roaring stopped. Cameron looked around.

It was late at night. The machine was in the construction zone of a new property. The time bubble had appeared on the corner of an unfinished house. A perfect sphere was carved into the wood and sand beneath her.

The machine stood up. The skin on her feet sizzled beneath, burning on the molten glass that was once sand. She walked out onto the street and looked into the clear night sky. Cameron confirmed it was 1999.

She stuck to the shadows as she made her way into the city. Cameron needed a weapon, money, clothes and computers to aid in her search. John had told her that his mother moved them around constantly during this time period. It was not going to be easy to find him. Still, that meant the T-888 would have a difficult time looking.

After an hour, Cameron came across a 24 hour pawn shop. The machine stayed in the shadows and watched it for a few minutes. There was only one man in the shop; Cameron looked around to make sure no one else was in the area. She walked to the door.

The man was turned around, working on inventory when Cameron stepped in.

“Just a minute…I’ll be with you in a second.”

Cameron quickly walked over to him without saying anything. The man turned around when she was just a few feet a way.

“What in the hell-”

The machine grabbed the man by the neck and swiftly rammed his head into the wall behind him. She was careful not to use too much force. The search could take weeks and killing someone would not be a wise decision. She needed to remain fairly inconspicuous.

The man fell to the ground, unconscious. The machine looked around and found some clothes. After putting them on, she went to the gun counter at the rear of the store. She had a choice of a dozen different assault rifles, shotguns and pistols. One of them caught her eye.

It was a Colt M1911, like the one John carried. His was a former government issued handgun built in 1955. It was well built and reliable, but there were many newer, superior firearms John could have carried. Cameron had asked him why he carried such an old weapon.

“‘Cause it reminds me of a more optimistic time.” his words echoed in her memory.

The machine punched through the glass display and took the gun and two magazines. She briefly looked it over before loading it; the Colt was built in 1963. Cameron concealed the weapon and looked around for computers.

She found two functional laptops. The machine put them in a duffle bag and continued to the rear of the store where the safe was housed. After a few minutes, Cameron had the safe open and took five thousand dollars which she also tossed into the bag.

She left the pawn shop through the back door and walked for a few miles until she found a park bench. There, she waited until it was morning.

Cameron found that most humans were very cooperative if they were bribed. When she found a suitable apartment, she paid the man an extra five hundred dollars to not ask any questions or request any documentation. It was similar when she purchased an old pickup truck.

Night fell when Cameron had finally set up her base of operations. She had the two laptops searching every FBI and police database for any entries and constantly listened to the news on radio and TV.

Cameron laid down on the bed that came with the apartment. After leaving John, she had forced herself to remain emotionless. Any type of emotion could have slowed her progress and endangered John. Now, all she could do was wait.

The bed she laid upon felt empty. She took the handgun and placed it beside her. It reminded her of John and briefly made her feel better. Cameron started at the ceiling and viewed pictures and video she had taken of John.

With most of them, he had no idea he was being recorded. Cameron preferred it that way. She felt like it was a truer representation of him. There were only pictures and videos of him being happy or smiling.

“I think he’ll probably have to stay in the back of the base…” John said smirking at her.

Cameron quietly giggled again. She felt tears building in her eyes. She rolled over on to her side in the bed. She played video of him in bed looking across at her.

“I love you, Cameron.”

“I love you, too.” she whispered to the video.

That night, Cameron cried. She had experienced tears and sadness before, but never at this extreme. The machine lay in bed and cried for several hours before she stopped. She wanted to use the emergency TDE John mentioned. She wanted to leave 1999 and return to 2027, but she couldn’t. John needed her here.

The days went by slowly for Cameron. She passed the time in her apartment, constantly monitoring every piece of news she could find and followed up on leads that her computers gave her. Weeks began to pass. Cameron’s second month in the past was easier.

A new resolve came to the machine. She was stuck in the past, but at least she could help John become the man he was, or the man he would be. It was hard not having him around but it got a little easier every day. She looked forward to the day she would meet him again.

On her 71st day in the past, both Cameron’s laptops alerted her with information from the FBI and the Nebraska state police. Sarah Reese had been reported missing with her son and the FBI was investigating. Sarah Reese was also known to the FBI as the armed and dangerous Sarah Connor.

Cameron smiled and began scouring the internet for any information on the whereabouts of Sarah’s vehicle. John had told Cameron about how much his mother loved the American southwest. It was close to the Mexican border and had many places to hide. It was ideal for her.

Over the next day, the machine scoured the FBI databases for information regarding southern California, New Mexico, Arizona and west Texas. Eventually, she found a gas station’s security camera footage. It had a vehicle that was possibly a Jeep Wagoneer entering Red Valley, New Mexico.

Cameron hacked into the school directories of Red Valley and began to search for any new students. John Reese was among them. He had no picture, but Cameron calculated a 95% chance that it was him. She quickly created a new school profile and schedule, and left the room.

The machine ran out of the apartment, only stopping to grab her keys and a wad of cash. She jumped into the truck and drove east, to Red Valley. Averaging 70 miles an hour, she would arrive in New Mexico within ten hours. Just early enough to meet him in school and confirm his identity.

Cameron drove through the night, slowing only when she detected police cars on the roads. It was mostly quiet for the trip, so she kept the truck at 75 miles an hour. She arrived in Red Valley just before dawn.

At 6:00AM, the machine pulled into the high school and parked the truck. It was obviously still early, so Cameron went over John’s schedule and decided when she would make contact. When the machine created her school schedule, she had managed to squeeze herself into a morning class with him.

Cameron purposely entered the school a little late, so she could look at every face as she walked into the classroom. None of the boys in the class resembled John. She sat down quietly and waited. A few minutes later, another boy walked into the class.

He walked in quietly, not looking at anybody and sat down a few desks away from the machine. He had longer hair but Cameron could see his facial structure. She almost jumped when she got a good look at him. It was 15 year old John Connor.

Cameron looked at the teenager that sat before her. The youthful face this young man carried looked nothing like the John Connor she knew. There were no scars, no burns and he didn’t have the thousand yard stare that the survivors of Judgment Day wore. He was just a child.

Cameron briefly felt disappointment. She obviously didn’t expect to see the same battle-hardened man she once knew, but it felt odd seeing John Connor so vulnerable. She decided to confirm his identity.

“What’s your name?” she whispered to him.

The boy turned his head and looked at her. “John.”

>>>>><<<<<
AUDIO RECOGNITION ANALYSIS (VOICE)
>>>>><<<<<

>>>>>VOICE CONFIRMATION: CONNOR, JOHN
<<<<<CONFIRMATION ACCURACY: 100.00%

In that moment, Cameron saw the hint of a smile. The same smile that she had fallen in love with. Instantly, her thoughts of disappointment were replaced with happiness. She was no longer in the future but it didn’t matter; she would stand by John’s side, watch over him and protect him, now and forever.

John continued to look at her, expecting to hear a name. The machine simply smiled.

“Cameron.”

-The End-

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