Chapter 4 - Free Will






The terminator slowly opened it’s eyes and looked around. She lay upon a cold metal table in a darkened room. A bright light shined down on her. She was restrained by metal bars that encompassed her arms and feet. It was similar in appearance to the room she killed Allison in.

There were two other, metal tables in the room. One was empty, and one had a deactivated, T-888 on it. It’s CPU port cover was open and it’s eyes were lifeless. Parts of a dozen more terminators lay scattered across the room.

The machine attempted to move the restraints. The metal groaned and creaked but it barely moved. She didn’t have enough leverage to break them. As she looked down, she realized her body had been bandaged. Her tattered uniform was replaced with a fresh jumpsuit.

The machine began to detect movement outside the large door of the room. Moments later, the large rotary lock began to spin and a soldier stuck his head in. He gave her a brief look of disgust.

“It’s awake.” he called back into the hallway.

“Thanks, Ramirez. Go get some lunch.” It was John Connor.

“Yes sir,” the man said and walked off.

John slowly stepped into the room and closed the door shut behind him. He flipped a switch and several more lights flickered to life. The room became brighter. He walked over to the table the machine lay upon, and sat down on a chair.

He buried his face in his hands and ran his fingers through his already graying hair. He let out a long sigh. John seemed to be searching for the right words to say.

“Do you have any idea how many people you killed here, today?” he was quiet but the machine could tell he was furious.

The machine was programmed not to respond. Standard Skynet protocol was to say nothing. Still, the machine felt compelled to reply.

“Twenty eight.”

John glared at her. “What in God’s name are you?”

The terminator was confused. He asked her a question and now seemed surprised that she had answered. John got out of the chair and approached her.

“Normally I don’t save the terminators that shoot up our bases. The people can’t stand having them around. I usually reprogram ones that have been disabled on the battlefield.” He motioned with his head to the damaged endoskeleton.

John paused. “You killed twenty six. Two are still alive.”

The machine didn’t know how to respond. Apparently two of the people she fought with had survived. She assumed it was the doctor and the man she threw the rifle at.

“The only reason you’re still functional is because I’ve never seen your type before. I have no idea what you are…you seem different.”

“I am different.”

Again, her response seemed to infuriate John. “Why are you talking back!? You not supposed to talk back!” His voice echoed in the room.

The machine didn‘t understand. “You asked me a question.”

“You’re not supposed to answer. You’re a terminator. You’re just supposed to sit there, silently trying to kill me, until I pull your fucking brain out and wipe it!” John barked, slamming his fist on the table.

The machine remained motionless. John let out a frustrated sigh and sat back down in the chair. He muttered rubbing his eyes. “You’re the weirdest thing I’ve seen in this whole God damn war.”

There was a long pause. The machine used this time to contemplate what he had said. It seemed the only thing the machine had succeeded in doing was confusing the leader. Still, it was a fascinating experience for the machine.

She only knew the John Connor of the battlefield. Cold, ruthless, calculating and efficient. Seeing the side that wasn’t the brilliant soldier, or the great leader that Skynet feared, was interesting to say the least. Perhaps that’s why the machine continued to respond.

“They were trying to kill me.”


“They were trying to kill me. I only killed people who tried to stop me. I didn’t kill anybody who was unarmed.”

“They were defending me. They were protecting me from you.”

“It was my mission-”

“Yeah well, we’ll see if we can’t change that.” John replied as he got up. He left the room before the machine could reply.

Hours past as the machine lay in silence. The terminator made a few more attempts to break her restraints. She didn’t know what she’d do if she were free, but she felt like she had to do something.

She was stuck, and at the mercy of humanity’s greatest leader. She wondered what was going to happen to her. Would she be destroyed? Reprogrammed? What would it be like? The machine glanced at the T-888 and began to feel afraid.

A few minutes after midnight, the machine heard boots at the door. John stepped back into the room. He looked about the same, but was obviously even more tired.

“Why were you crying?” he asked as he sat down.

“I don’t know.”

“Since when do machines not know?”

“The mirror…I didn’t like what I saw.”

“What, didn’t you know you’re a machine?” John remarked, almost with a morbid half-smile.

“Not for a little while.”

John’s face became pale. “So that’s it. That’s how you snuck in. You thought you were Allison…”

The machine didn’t answer. She felt sick. She still possessed the memories of Allison. They permeated every ounce of her being. She wanted to reach inside her CPU and tear the memories out. Tears began rolling down her face.

“I don’t want to be Allison.”

John Connor had never seen a machine show any type of discomfort, much less cry, before. Seeing tears rolling down the machine’s face stirred long dormant emotions inside of him. Fond memories of his lost machine guardian flooded his mind. He could still see Uncle Bob’s smile.

“You’re not Allison. You’re a machine.”

The terminator didn’t answer. It just stared back up at him. John almost felt sorry for the machine. Right now she- it, looked vulnerable. Yet, if it were free, it would tear him to pieces.

“What are you going to do to me?”

“After a reprogram, I think you might make a good bodyguard.”

The machine could detect an almost imperceptible smile on the man’s face. She didn’t know why, but she felt reassured. She began to calm down. John started to walk out of the room. He paused before he stepped out.

“Why didn’t you kill me?”

“It didn’t seem right.”

John nodded and stepped out of the room. Just before the door had fully closed, the machine called out to him.

“John? Why didn’t you kill me?”

John paused. “It didn’t seem right.”

The door closed and the terminator was, once again, alone. Within a few moments, the machine had made up her mind. This human had saved her. He was trusting, merciful and unique.

This was the man who took the battered and exhausted survivors of humanity, and taught them to fight. The man who singularly stopped Skynet’s advances and prevented their victory. Such a rare specimen had to be protected; she owed him her life. At once, the machine got to work.

The terminator needed to disable her internal antennae. It was her wireless link to Skynet and they could attempt to control her through it. She would have to fool her body into shutting it down.








The machine felt strange. She was relieved; she felt like a great weight was lifted off her chest. No one was looking over her shoulder anymore. She felt free, despite the fact that she was in metal restraints.

Next, she would have to override her core programming. She knew of T-800s that did it. Terminators that spent too much time fighting humans, eventually turning on Skynet or leaving the battlefield altogether.

Still, it was a rare event. She could only think of a few dozen cases in the entire war. Few terminators survived long enough for their programming to be altered by human exposure; the average combat operational life for a T-800 was less than a month.

The task that lay before the machine was no small feat. She would be the first terminator to ever change a portion of core programming through sheer force of will. She didn’t know what was going to happen. For all she knew, her CPU would fail or her reactor would shut down.





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