Chapter 5: "Would It Have Worked?"

I added some music that I think goes with Derek and Jesse's story, even though I don't include the actual scene in this chapter. I'm trying to limit writing about already existing scenes, unless it directly relates to the fictional part of the story.


Jesse had killed Riley. Everything she had done, that she had had Riley do, it was all to keep him away from Cameron.

It seemed as though everyone had forgotten who he is. He is John Connor. There is a reason he is the one to lead mankind in the war against Skynet. He’s smarter than everyone gives him credit for. But Cameron, she never seemed to forget. Sure, she didn’t treat him the way she would treat the future John Connor, but she at least didn’t forget that he would eventually become that future John Connor.

He had told Jesse that he had just wanted to be John Connor. That he liked that he could be that with Riley. He had considered it before--that if he wanted to be John Connor, he could be that with Cameron. But she was just a machine. Or at least, he thought she was. But now that she was much more, or at least could be much more, he was more confused than ever.

What had thrown him off was her question.

“Would it have worked?”


If the cyborg had murdered the girl, or if I could‘ve made you believe that she had?”

“Would I have sent Cameron away? Would I have killed her?” John thought about it for a second. Knowing what he knew now, he definitely wouldn’t have. But Jesse was asking if he’d kill Cameron, the one that she believes exists. He knew his answer almost immediately, and it surprised him.


“Well, it’s a damn shame, then. It’s a damn waste.”

Derek entered the room. He took stock of the room and he saw John there, fiddling with what looked like a pocket watch.

“Complications. That watch, it has complications. It’s something I learned. Something I’ve been thinking about.”

John realized the mistake Derek had made. Although it looked like a watch, the object in his hand was actually the detonator for the explosive in Cameron‘s head. But Derek couldn‘t know this. “Complications?” He sat down, readying himself for another difficult conversation.

“Yeah. Time. The future.”

Before Derek had entered, he‘d been thinking about why Jesse would do everything she‘d done. Why she hated Cameron, or the machines as much as she did. Enough to go against Future John. Enough to lie to Derek. It made him wonder if she wasn‘t the only one. “What do they think of me? In the future, what do people think?”

Derek had expected him to ask this question at some point, so he was ready. “Well, if you’re asking if people agree with everything you do, of course not. If you’re asking if everybody loves you, loves a lot to ask for. You can’t do what you do and expect everybody to agree. Or to love you.”

“What is it that I do?”

“You lead.”

“And they follow.” John shook his head, still not able to understand how the whole human race could follow him.

We follow. We rise or fall on your shoulders. Humanity rises, or falls, but we’re always watching.”

“For me to make a mistake.”

“For you to be human.”

John stood up, placing the “watch” in his pocket. He had to ask the question. He had to know. He walked towards Derek, preparing himself for the answer. “Did you do it? Did you kill her?”

“John Connor let her go.”

It took John a moment to realize what Derek meant by that. As soon as he did, he understood exactly how devoted to fighting the war, and how devoted to the leader that John becomes. How am I supposed to live up to that?

Later, at the house, John was sitting between Sarah and Cameron on the couch. A perfect allegory for my life, John thought to himself. Everyone was silent. He had just told both of them about everything. It was only fair. The less secrets they had, the better.

John slowly turned to Cameron. He was sitting closest to her on the couch, a pillow between his mother and him. He could feel it coming. The tears. The breakdown. He wished futilely that Cameron could console him. But I haven’t fixed her yet. She probably wouldn’t even know what to do. Besides, mom couldn’t see. She couldn’t know that there was a change between Cameron and me, at least on my end.

When his mother reached over to console him, he couldn’t hold the tears in any longer. So he slowly lowered himself to lay across her lap as the tears began to flow out. He had spent so much time trying to figure out what had happened, he hadn’t grieved yet. And if he was going to fix Cameron’s chip, he’d have to be clearheaded. He’d have to know that that’s what he wants.

So he cried.

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