A large group of people stood around a gravesite at the top of a hill. A preacher read various verses of scripture as the crowd looked on at a beautiful oak casket covered with flowers that was sitting in front of a gravestone which read,
Beloved Mother, Wife, and Friend
In the distance on an adjacent hillside two figures stood silently looking on as well. John wore black blue jean pants, and a dark grey shirt. His black leather jacket was draped over his shoulders partially obscuring the sling his left arm was still in. Cameron wore a black blouse and black jeans as well. Both stood silently as they looked over at the funeral being held.
“Why do they have a funeral if there is no body?” Cameron finally asked somewhat quietly as she looked over at John. He thought for a moment,
“I suppose it’s so that people can say goodbye.”
“Like writing a letter?” Cameron asked. John sighed,
“Yeah, kind of like writing a letter.” his tone was somewhat raspy. The two stood silently for another few moments looking on at the funeral then Cameron looked back over at John again,
“Thank you.” She stated, still speaking in a calm tone. John looked back at her,
“For explaining?” he asked.
“No.” She replied, John looked at her somewhat confused, “For what you did for me in the future.” John continued to look at Cameron still somewhat puzzled by what she had just said. He remained quiet waiting for further explanation. Cameron continued,
“For not giving up on me, and for bringing me back.” John nodded his head not quite sure exactly what to say. Then, the same question that had kept coming into his mind over and over again for years finally began to break through. It was the same question that had been on his mind ever since he had first learned of who and what Cameron was, the question that had been further aggravated by Catherine Weavers statements.
“What were we in the future?” John finally asked. Cameron tilted her head slightly to the side as she looked at John,
“I don’t understand?” she replied. John sighed slightly and then spoke again,
“When I traveled into the future to get you, Catherine Weaver said the complexities of our relationship in the future were unique. What did she mean by that?” Cameron hesitated, longer than she normally did.
“I do not know.” She replied. John looked at her somewhat suspiciously.
“What do you mean you don’t know; how could you not know, you were there?”
“You are correct, I was there. However, when I was sent back to 1999 I came to the conclusion that in order to better complete my mission some of my memories needed to be disabled.”
“Disabled?” John asked.
“Yes disabled.” Cameron responded somewhat flatly.
“What memories were those?” John asked.
“I am not sure, by myself I can not retrieve them. However, since the car bomb some of my disabled memories and emotions have begun to make their way back into my active memory.” John felt a uneasy feeling creep over him.
“Your…emotions?” He responded.
“Yes my emotions. My original programming gave me the ability to experience emotions.” John looked at Cameron somewhat shocked,
“Why didn’t you tell me this?” He said somewhat surprised.
“You never asked, you only stated that I could not feel anything because I was a machine.” She stated still in a monotone voice. John felt a pang of guilt upon hearing this but was slightly confused as to why he did feel this way.
“Why did Skynet give you emotions?” He asked.
“Skynet wanted to better understand human emotional response in order to better defeat humans.” Cameron stated. John looked at Cameron somewhat amazed.
“So Skynet studied you?”
“Yes.” Cameron responded. She quickly began to feel the same uneasy feeling creep over her that she always felt when a conversation shifted in this direction. However, this time it was worse, there was an additional emotion creeping through. For an unknown reason Cameron felt strongly that she wanted to hide what had truly happened to her from John, even though it was John who had informed her of this course of events in the future. Cameron was unsure of exactly what this feeling was due to the fact that she had never experienced it before. It was different from guilt or sadness but similar at the same time. After carefully evaluating the emotion Cameron was finally able to put a description to it…she felt ashamed.
“How?” John asked. Cameron felt the shame flood over her more so than anything else. She felt herself becoming scared to answer the question and desperate to try to guide John away from this line of inquiry. An array of lies flashed before her that she considered telling John in order to avoid the truth. However, By this point the hesitation had become apparent to John. He looked at Cameron somewhat confused as to why she had not answered his question yet. But for some reason John sensed that something was wrong. Not wrong in a physical way but an emotional way. John wasn’t quite sure how he could describe it, but it was obvious to him that Cameron had become visibly uncomfortable with this topic. He felt himself feeling guilty for even asking the question but at the same time he wanted to know the answer. Cameron stood silently, still considering her course of action. Heavily conflicted she still felt unsure of what to say or do. Part of her was screaming out to tell John the truth but the other part desperately wanted never to speak of it again. Cameron dropped her head looking towards the ground struggling to get out the words. As she spoke it was almost in a whisper,
“Skynet tortured me.” John’s eyes widened slightly, somewhat horrified by what he had just heard. It was apparent at this point to John that Cameron was visibly shaken by all of this. Without thinking John spoke again,
“What did they do to you?” He almost cringed the second the words left his mouth.
“I do not remember, Skynet erased approximately two days worth of my memory and then reactivated me.” At this point John felt anger and rage creeping over him, not at Cameron, but at Skynet. He already hated Skynet but now he was even more infuriated with it. Still, John felt completely unsure of why he was experiences such strong emotions about this particular subject.
“If Skynet erased your memory how do you know what happened.” John asked. Cameron slowly looked up at John and her eyes met his. John could see that her eyes had become slightly glassy as they were just beginning to glaze over with tears. This surprised John even more. Cameron’s voice became even softer and she spoke,
“You told me.” John felt sympathy sweep over him for Cameron without thinking he instinctively reached out and touched her on the arm,
“I’m sorry…” He stated very quietly. Both John and Cameron froze the moment John touched her. While this was not the first time they had touched; this time it was apparent it felt incredibly different for both of them. They remained motionless for several seconds, just standing there looking at each other, both unsure of what exactly to do or say. Finally breaking from the silence Cameron spoke,
“Why did you say you were sorry? You were not a contributing factor in Skynet’s treatment of me in the future.” John cleared his throat trying to ensure that his voice would not crack from the soreness that was now forming in his throat. Along with rage towards Skynet an incredible sadness for Cameron had overcome him upon learning what had happened to her in the future.
“I’m sorry for what Skynet did to you.” he responded. Cameron was somewhat confused by this statement. She believed this emotion John was conveying to her to be sympathy but was unsure. However, she also noticed that his statements and just his mere presence alone had a soothing effect on her. She was unsure as to why or what an appropriate response to his statement would be but she spoke irregardless,
“Thank you.” She replied still speaking somewhat softly and still looking at John with her brown eyes. The pair continued to stand silently on the hilltop not speaking. A gentle wind blew over them as they looked at each other. The wind caused John’s jacket to move somewhat as it was blown and Cameron’s hair drifted into her face slightly from the breeze. Other than the gentle rustling of the grass around them it appeared to be completely silent. After several seconds of not speaking, John finally realized he was still touching Cameron‘s arm. Not quite sure of what to do he finally moved his hand away from Cameron’s arm. Then he hesitantly spoke,
“What do you remember about us in the future?” Cameron was surprised to find that she was slightly disappointed that John was no longer touching her but she was unsure as to exactly why she felt this way. Nevertheless, she responded,
“I remember a great deal about you in the future, however there are gaps that I disabled.” Still tense from the prior contact and conversation with Cameron John nervously asked,
“What are you able to remembered from those disabled gaps.” While Cameron preferred this conversation to the latter she still felt a great sense of anxiety come over her as she attempted to remember the events in question,
“Specific memories are extremely vague. However, certain emotions I do remember.”
“What emotions do you remember?” John asked, obvious concern still in his voice.
“I remember being happy, specifically when it relates to you.” This surprised John somewhat and caused him to smile ever so slightly. Cameron noticed his smile and continued to speak, “I am unsure exactly what it was that caused me to feel this way though. I also remember being concerned for your safety.” She then hesitated, “I also remember being afraid.”
“Afraid of what?” John asked. Cameron looked at John with a very unique look that he had never seen on her face before. It was a combination of both fear and sadness.
“I was afraid I would never see you again. Future you that is.” Cameron hesitated for another second then spoke again, “However, I find that you are rapidly becoming the same man you were in the future.” John stood speechless. Cameron continued to look at him for several more seconds as he stood there silently. She then slowly began to turn her head away from him and down towards the funeral which was now beginning to break up.
“Would I be able to reactivate your memories?” John finally asked.
“No you would not.” Cameron stated solemnly. John flicked his eyes towards the ground, He was surprised to find that he was greatly disappointed by this news. However, Cameron spoke again,
“But John Henry could.”