Los Angeles, California
An urban street
November 17, 2007
"Civilization may be said indeed to be the creation of its outlaws." -James Joyce
"Men sleep peacefully in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." -George Orwell
Cameron had only felt more rejected by the end of the day. Sarah had effectively removed her from guarding John. Being unwilling to set herself up for a confrontation with Sarah Connor, Cameron had complied without having too.
Further, adding insult to injury, John had replaced her with some high school girl named Riley. So, Cameron was no longer his main confidant.
Cameron had always known there were women in John's past that he had been with. That John would be with. Cameron had resolved to not altering the tapestry of his life.
Deep down Cameron knew that some of the lessons John had learned that made him the person he was had come from those relationships. She didn't want John to evolve into a different or lesser man.
However, knowing something and seeing something in front of your face now seemed too be two different things. She was out of place, unable to resolve who she was to John and how to act with him.
She also knew everything going on was a direct consequence of John's Birthday and how she had tried to make things right in the church two days ago. She found herself unneeded and unwanted, by John for the first time she had ever known.
That really couldn't be overstated. Cameron had never even considered the possibility that a day could come where John would not need her.
In return, she found herself get perturbed by John. That is, in a machine like way, of course.
If the younger John was going to act this way, he wasn't the John she wanted. Therefore, she went back to serving the John Connor that she had known.
There was room to make improvements to her agenda. She had found enough information, while traveling through time, to write her own secondary objectives.
She had stumbled across two major clues, after jumping from 2027. Where they matched locally would do.
In 1999, prior to locating John, she had interrogated one known gray operative, Andres Martinez. From Andres, she found out about a network of grays operating, in this timeline, starting eight years ago.
Five nights ago, John had plugged her into a light station while she dismantled the "ARTIE" system. She had found a variety of targets.
If the John of today had no use for her, the John of tomorrow still needed her. Though she still wasn't operating at full speed, her memory still had found matches with three gray operatives.
They not only matched her internal profiles she had brought from 2027. They also matched the discussion she had with Andres Martinez in 1999.
So the questions were simple. How big was this gray network? What were the network's current missions? Were they pursuing secondary objectives? Were they part of a larger plot to insure Skynet's creation?
There was a potential snag in all of this self direction. Cameron hoped not to find anything she would have to tell John and Sarah about. She hoped it would all be things she could handle herself.
John Connor's orders from 2027 were specific. He didn't want his mother to know about the grays. He didn't want to know about the grays until it was time to deal with them.
She had created a subtle rift between John and Sarah by disobeying another of John's orders from 2027 and confessing her attachments to John on his birthday. She wasn't looking to make the problems worse.
If she wasn't going to be a protector, she could go back to being a terminator. It was easier to hunt, than to defend.
She had the names and aliases. After hacking the DMV network, from the public library, she had the current addresses of all three targets: Anthony Evans, Roland Parker, and Louis Rhone.
Needing something familiar, she'd start the old way. Anthony Evans was the first target. The thought of returning to old logical patterns soothed the machine inside her.
Twenty minutes and one picked lock later, she was in Anthony Evan's empty apartment. She took the time to search and get too know her prey.
Evans was an odd man, prone to eight matching black suits all with white shirts. His socks and underwear were all the same color. His shoes were all the same color and type. He seemed to lack imagination.
His food all seemed to be canned and pre prepared. The only thing he seemed willing to drink was cans of Pepsi.
Anthony Evans had no pets. No pictures on his walls. His only form of entertainment seemed to be his computer.
Though oddly, he had several figures of small girls dancing. Ballerinas dressed in pink tutus.
Cameron inspected each one. Every figurine had a girl's name written on the bottom of her foot, all first names, some repeating. There were forty three figurines in all.
Cameron looked at the ballerinas and smiled slightly. She should dance again soon. There were other things to do now though.
Eight years had past since she had gotten the update from Martinez. There might be more to know about Anthony Evans, the computer programmer.
Whether or not he was networked with other gray targets she did not know about yet. She'd need too.
Evans' computer was set up with advanced Skynet protocols. They would have been beyond the capacity of the greatest computer cracking software of this time. However, they were child's play for Cameron to get around.
She set up a remote catch file to monitor what Evans was up too. It would take a few weeks, but it might lead to bigger targets.
Cameron had been inside the apartment for forty minutes. She decided not to press her luck.
She checked the entire area for evidence that she had been there. No fingerprints, hairs, or evidence from her existed. Everything had been returned to its exact place prior to her entry.
She looked at the Ballerinas one last time. It meant something special too Evans.
In her own way, Cameron liked the figurines' happy faces as well. She smiled at them one last time.
Cameron left the apartment. She was on the hunt.
Though she was only a machine, it felt good to be fulfilling her purpose again. Soon enough, she'd know what Evans and the other grays were up too.