Chapter 2: Alice

Chapter 2: "Alice"

Working intently behind a monitor, John typed series after series of commands into the computer, his eyes weary and darkened from a lack of sleep during the past few days. Shifting uncomfortably in his seat, he surveyed the inactive female terminator laying on the examination table across the small room, her shoulder-length, pure black hair sprawled on the table, framing her emotionless face, her body clad in an equally dark black jumpsuit. Two bloodied openings gaped on each side of her head where each CPU was supposed to be. John lowered his head for a moment to let out a sigh. Before him was the cyborg that over a dozen brave soldiers gave their lives to capture. John took a look to his right, where the two cylindrical shapes of faintly pulsing blue sat plugged into a box-like interface device hooked to his computer. This what was what their lives paid for.

John had countless years of experience reprogramming terminators for various purposes such as aiding his soldiers in battle as walking tanks, or sending them back into the past to counter the terminators that Skynet sent back in time to kill him. But this particular terminator eluded him for weeks on end. This terminator was different from all the rest. While the other ones were easily reprogrammed by a simple memory wipe and reprogramming, this one was unique. With each memory block that was erased, another memory block surfaced to replace it, as if it was actively adapting to John's every effort. To counter this, John decided to add instructions that superseded the ones he wanted to remove. The directive to kill him would always be there, but there would also be another to instruct it to protect him. Whether his plan would end in his death or not would be left up to chance and chance alone.

"Like they say, faith makes all things possible." Whispered John to nobody in particular. Putting the finishing touches to weeks of work, he carefully withdrew one of the pulsing blue CPUs from its interface, and he paused for a moment to study it. John recalled Derek's ever-familiar words: I want you to hear this in no uncertain terms. Someday one of these things is gonna kill you.

John rose from his seat and calmly walked over to the terminator's side.

"It's not gonna be this one." Recited John as he brushed aside the terminator's strands of hair and inserted the CPU into one of the open slots and. It made a click noise as it locked into place and rotated itself clockwise. Retrieving the second CPU, John moved to the other side of the terminator and inserted the CPU into the second slot. "Or this one."

John took a breath and took a few steps back, keeping his eyes on the female figure laying on the table. Within seconds the scars where the incisions on each side of the terminator's head sealed themselves with new flesh.

The terminator's eyes snapped open, and with a strangely human grace, rose from the table. The terminator slowly turned her head to face John, her white irises focusing on him. She smiled at him. "You must be John Connor," she spoke, with a calmly flowing tone.

John was taken aback, he wasn't sure what was more of a shock; still being alive, or the hauntingly beautiful smiling expression on the terminator's face.

"Yes, I'm John Connor... do you have a.. name?" asked John.

The terminator paused for a moment, as if deciding something. "You can call me Alice." she responded.

A terminator with a name? Wondered John. "Alice? Is that the name Skynet gave you?"

The terminator gave another smile as she momentarily looked to one side. "No, but my programming instructs me to assume a human identity. It helps with the infiltration process."

"I suppose you aren't one of those triple-eights then," mused John. He had never seen any terminator with such convincing human behavior, not even from a T-888.

Alice grinned and gave a slight laugh as she moved to lower her legs over to the side of the table. "No, definitely not a T-888. I'm something entirely different."

Before John could ask what she meant by "entirely different", a knocking noise came from the door behind him. John called out, "Come on in."

James Ballard, the technician that helped John capture the terminator, poked his head inside the room and calmly entered.
"Any news on Squad Two's status yet?" Asked John as he was turning his head to face Ballard.

Ballard, closing the door behind him, paused a few seconds in surprise as he saw the female terminator sitting on the examination table. He quickly collected himself. "They're all dead sir. Squad Two is gone." His tone was nervous and grim. Feeling uncomfortable, he looked away from John. Alice remained sitting on the table, silent, observing the conversation.

"God damn it. Damn it all. What happened over there?" cursed John.

"From Recon Squad One's preliminary reports, it seems something came and killed each member of Squad Two before they had the chance to fire a single shot. The T must have fully activated before they could shut it down. The recon squad is still examining the situation." Ballard explained.

Alice slipped down from the table and stood up. "Yes, the terminator was responsible for the deaths of your men. They had no probability of surviving the encounter." she explained. Ballard responded with a silent glare, gritting his teeth. John noticed Ballard's reaction and motioned to him to calm down.

"Alright, tell me, just what was sitting in that factory? Something like you?" demanded John, turning his eyes to Alice, his voice laced with impatience.
"I am a R-X model zero-one, the other cybernetic organism is the R-X model zero-two. Bio-mimetic covering over a metal endoskeleton, equipped with a replicator system to assemble known weapons." Alice responded calmly, returning the gaze.

Ballard raised an eyebrow. "Bio-mimetic covering? What in the hell is that? Don't even get me started with this 'replicator' crap."

Alice turned her attention to Ballard. "A living covering of imitative flesh, capable of self-reconfiguration and rapid regeneration; an improvement over the static living flesh on previous models. The replicator system can replicate previously scanned weaponry. The size and complexity of the replicated weapon is limited to small arms."

"You cyborgs never, ever cease to amaze me." Ballard commented sarcastically, rolling his eyes in disgust.
"Thank you.", Alice replied, completely oblivious to the sarcasm.
"Just... shut up." Ballard shot back.

Before anyone else could speak, the door suddenly burst open to reveal a uniformed soldier, showing clear signs of exhaustion. "General sir, I know you've requested not to be bothered, but this is urgent. Update from
Recon Squad One just came in a minute ago." reported the soldier, panting tiredly, trying to stand up at attention.

John quickly turned around to face the soldier. "Tell me, right now." he demanded.

Recon Squad One reports no encounter with the cyborg that Squad Two was supposed to retrieve. However, they discovered a hidden time displacement device in the facility. It was activated shortly after Squad Two lost contact with us. It was set to travel to 2007, North American continent."
"Skynet has sent the R-X back in time to terminate you in the past." said Alice to John.

"General, we should send one of our triple eights after it immediately." suggested Ballard.

John shook his head in disagreement. "If that terminator is anything like our friend here," John motioned to Alice beside him, "one triple eight won't be able to do anything against it, neither will three. The triple eight is simply outclassed."

"Then what do you think we should do? Send this after it?" argued Ballard, pointing at Alice. "We don't even know if she can be trusted yet. For all you know you could be sending her back in time to kill yourself! We can find a triple eight that we know we can trust."

John struggled inwardly to remain calm. He had always known Ballard to be a calm, intelligent, logical individual, and it disturbed him at his sudden change. "I know what I'm doing Ballard, trust me." said John as he looked Ballard straight in the eye, hoping to reach some sort of understanding.

Ballard sighed in resignation. "Alright... sir, understood. You know I trust you."

John nodded in agreement. "You two go and bring our time displacement device online as soon as humanly possible," motioning to Ballard and the soldier. While the two men left, John turned to Alice, who was standing silently with him the entire time, and looked sharply into her eyes. "Alice. What is your mission?"

"My primary mission is to terminate John Connor. However, this instruction is overridden with the one you have added to my CPU. My new primary mission is to protect and aid John Connor." Alice responded with a smile, knowing her response would cause give John a scare.

John grinned, somewhat relieved.


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