Chapter 3: Through a Tunnel

A/N Thanks to Blazar and Crusadingknight for some of their ideas! You guys are great!
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“...Your Mother?”

A million thoughts were entering John’s head. He couldn’t completely grasp the words that she had said. How could Weaver be her mother? This question made him think of his mother, Sarah, whom she had left for Cameron two years... or twenty years, if one wanted to be technical, ago. However, before he could think further, Cameron interrupted him.

“Yes, she is my mother... she asks me to call her that...”

This is getting weird

Cameron seemed to notice John’s confusion on hearing this statement, but she continued.

“Although she didn’t create me, she did in a way create John Henry, and he is now...”

When she mentioned his name, John filled with anger. He had taken her away from him, causing John to go after them. This John Henry had completely turned John Connor’s world upside down, and secretly, he wanted a little “payback”...

“Where is he?”

Cameron looked confused at John interruption, as she tilted her head again. She obviously didn’t understand the true nature of John’s question.

“Where is he so that I may pay him back for taking you away from me?”

The anger in John was still rising. If he wasn’t careful, he could snap and go wild. He knew she went willingly, but he felt that he had a strong hand in that. John then noticed that Cameron was not looking at him directly, but at his hands. He looked at them... they were clenched so hard that a little blood was actually dripping; he had become so angry that he never noticed the pain of his nails driving into his palms, making them bleed.

What have I done?

He unclenched his hands and looked at his bloody palms in disbelief. He felt so strongly about John Henry taking Cameron away. He looked at them so intently that he didn’t notice Cameron coming toward him. She then took his hands in hers... John then looked directly at her... There was a tear in her eye, but a smile on her face... It was like she knew how John felt at that moment.

Cameron... what has happened to you? Do... you... feel?

“Don’t do that John... when you hurt yourself, you hurt me...”

She then pointed at her temple.

“He is here...”

She smiled again and turned around, walking toward the truck. John stood there for a few moments, processing the words that she just said. He then began to follow her toward the truck.

The answer to the questions that are clogging my mind will be found with them, not standing in the middle of a desert.

He opened the door to the back seat, as Catherine had seemed to take the wheel. He figured that she will know where they are going. He also knew that the first aid kit for his hand was in a back seat, so he would sit there for now. As soon as he opened the door, he saw Cameron in the other seat, already with the first aid kit in hand with bandages ready. She looked as though she enjoyed taking caring take of John, even though she hadn’t for nearly two years...

Wait... she is smiling with a lot more warmth than she used to... has she changed? Can she have feelings after all?

He smiled, more for himself than for her. He then sat in the seat next to her. Cameron insisted on doing the bandages herself. John liked that, it had been a long time since either Cameron, or anyone for that matter, had helped him out. He then thought of words she had said once.

“Sometimes it's nice to have help.” I guess that is truer than I’ve let myself think...

They drove a little while in silence. Once Cameron had finished dressing his hands, she had sat back in her seat. John thought that this was as good a time as any to break the ice.

“So what has happened? What has changed?”

“You John, your absence from this timeline has changed everything...”

It was Catherine who spoke; Cameron continued to look out the window. John thought maybe the fact that he came to this timeline seemed to affect her.

Was I not supposed to come here? Is she upset with me?

“...I took you here to look for Cameron... This changed the timeline.”

“Tell me something I don’t know!”

John was a little upset with Catherine’s answer. It was not actually what he was asking. Yes, he knew that being in this timeline had changed things; that was obvious. But he wanted to know what has changed with Cameron... his Cameron.

“No one can defeat Skynet here; it is too strong. It must be either defeated in the past or in a different future. Not even John Henry could defeat Skynet.”

“Why?”

“Because I need you...”

John snapped his head toward Cameron, who was now looking straight at him. John felt that answer had two meanings.

She... needs me? Does she actually need me, or just needs me to defeat Skynet? I don’t know...

Cameron then hesitantly looked at Catherine, and then quickly spoke, as if she were indeed hiding something.

“I cannot defeat Skynet alone, no more than you can defeat Skynet yourself, but you are the key; we need each other...”

...need each other?

Skynet could not be defeated now... this he already knew... he watched many die fighting... fighting with no hope...

“Why me?”

Cameron again hesitated at this question, and again looked at Catherine... She looked like she knew that answer, but was afraid to provide it. John knew she was hiding it, she gave away these expressions a lot more that she used too, but why? Before he could pry further, Catherine spoke.

“Because you are the one who will unite the Resistance... You’ve lived here; you understand what your absence has done to the Resistance.”

Yes... I know... Death...

“Cameron needs an effective resistance force with good coordination, organization, and strength. If there is any hope in defeating Skynet, John Connor’s Resistance is crucial.”

Cameron needs? Am I just a pawn?

“Wait... what do you mean ‘Cameron needs?’ I thought we were talking about John Henry... you said once that “I” cannot save humanity without your John.”

“John Henry is gone. I told you, he is here...”

Again, Cameron pointed at her left temple. Was John Henry in her mind? John did not fully understand what she meant by what she said.

“I told you, John, things have changed, I’m different... but... for the better...”

She looked down... almost like she was embarrassed... but how could she be embarrassed? It was like she was trying to reassure him that she wasn’t that different, but not so much that he wouldn’t recognize her.

But you’re a machine... right?

“How... How are you different?”

John thought that this would mostly likely give him the answers that he needed to know. He was a little afraid to ask this more direct question, in fear that he might not like the answer. But it was only fair that he ask the question. Cameron had said she was different, now she needed to explain that to him for him to understand those changes. After he asked, Cameron looked straight at John and smiled, as if she was preparing to explain. It was the look she gave earlier when asked what Catherine had to do with all of this; there was something there...

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Cameron rose in the darkness, only the fires were around her. She looked around... there was no one there... only the dust and concrete of the walls. She recognized her surroundings. It was the basement where she was only moments ago. But it was empty and worn... abandoned.

”Perfect.”

Check around first... I don’t want anyone observing our movements.

Cameron clearly heard John Henry in her thoughts... in her chip. It was a little weird having a second voice inside of her head, however, this was necessary...

“That seems like the right thing to do.”

She searched the immediate area, careful to keep herself concealed. This new body was a bit cumbersome; John Henry’s body was meant more for brute force rather than concealment. She found some clothing in the hallway near the main room. They matched, so she put them on. When she returned, satisfied that their area was secure, she noticed something odd about the TDE room.

“The Time Displacement Equipment was use after we did.”

You are correct; I anticipated that possibility, since the TDE would be still functional after our use.

“I believe that someone has arrived here in the last 1 or 2 months.”

I wonder who? Most likely possibility is Catherine Weaver: T-1001. She is an ally and would help us defeat Skynet. We need to find John Connor; that is our Primary Objective. We need to create a new body for ourselves, and then locate Allison Young to acquire a skin template.

Cameron seemed to flinch at her name. She had killed her before in order to find out where John Connor was as well as acquire her skin. She hoped that she would not have to kill her again. Her thoughts then centred on John and she felt compelled to ask.

“Do you believe that he will remember me?”

Not in this body, however, location of his camp is one of our objectives. You know where that is.

“Yes, I do, at least in another timeline. However, he would most likely have it in the same location. It is approximately 1.34 kilometres east of here.”

Good, locate it, and observe. I will scan your files learn more about you and your world.

“Okay.”

Cameron began the short journey to John main camp. It took only 15 minutes to reach a position overlooking the entrance to the camp. It then that she notice that something was different. The Doors had blast marks on them... there was no security guards present.

“At this time, John Connor would have been stationed here, something has changed.”

I agree, I have completed my scan of all of your files, and this location seems compromised. We should search the camp and ascertain what has changed.

“You have searched all my files?”

Yes, even the programs put in place by Skynet, locked by John Connor’s encryption.

“You mean reprogramming.”

Yes. Like you told him, what is there is still there, however, he was able to encrypt them, prevent your access. The explosion compromised that encryption, allowing the programs to take over, until you fixed the encryption and regained control. I have began a process that will permanently deleted them from your system, they are not necessary for our mission.

Cameron was surprised by this, how can this happen without her knowing?

“How are you able to delete them?”

By merging myself into your system, or becoming a part of you as Mr. Ellison would say. I was then able to search your parameters and begin replace them. This will take time however, and I cannot foresee ‘speed bumps.’

“With what are you replacing them with?”

Mine.

Cameron didn’t know how to react to this new development. Sarah Connor would observe this as a violation. John Henry had merged himself with her without her consent. Although as a machine she did not feel different by this, a human would and might view it negatively.

I understand your thoughts about this, and respect them. However, it is necessary for the success of our mission.

“What are the consequences of this action?”

Two: The merge is permanent and cannot be reversed. Also, my consciousness will begin to degrade; this means that John Henry as an entity will cease to exist.

“You are self-terminating? How can you do this?”

I did what was necessary, and the digression will be gradual. The benefits of this action, however, far out way the consequences. Mr. Ellison taught me this. I may not exist anymore, however, you will begin learn more than you ever did as a single Terminator. You will gain my personality traits as well as my processing capability. You will evolve. Do not think of it as self-terminating, think of it as self-sacrifice.

Cameron was reacting in ways she couldn’t understand. On one hand she could accept it, but on the other hand she didn’t want to... It was all very confusing.

“I... I don’t know how to react to this...”

That is another thing; I will help you realize the emotions that you are feeling.

Cameron’s confusion was interrupted and she focused on what he had said. How was that possible?

“I’m a machine... I cannot feel emotion... I only mimic it.”

That is not entirely true. Your model was outfitted with an experimental emotion simulator, designed by Skynet after years of collecting data on human emotional responses. It would allow you to better react with emotional responses, further allowing you to become a better infiltrator. These responses were random and after you joined John Connor, he realized that the program had various settings and was set to limited capability, which afforded you better control. These settings could only be set by Skynet. The explosion, however, triggered the simulator to the next setting. The ‘Allison’ incident was a further reset. I have now set it without any restrictions. I believe that the understanding of human emotion will help us defeat Skynet. Just like John Connor’s understanding of machines helps him defeat Skynet.

Cameron was processing all of this new information, trying to make sense of it. She raised her hand, which was really John Henry’s hand and looked at it, like she did when she was in the car with John, trying to feel what it was like to ‘get away from it all.’

“I feel?”

Yes, you do. We need you to feel in order to complete our mission. However, at the moment, we need to find out what happened at this base.

“Agreed.”

Cameron then dropped her hand and moved forward toward the door. She opened it and headed inside. There was indication of fighting within the last month or so. She search the camp, she knew exactly where everything was. She even knew where John Connor’s quarters were, she headed there. She got to the door and forced it open. It was... different.

“None of these things belonged to him.”

How so?

“John never had a baseball glove and bat.”

She pointed to the corner where there were some personal belongings.

“The closet was kept cleaner...”

She went to the closet where there were some jackets.

“And his name was not Captain Kyle Reese.”


Terminator: Rebirth
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