Final Days Chapter 71

Authors Notes: Okay sorry for the longer than normal delay in releasing this chapter; however I think it will be well worth the wait. This was by far my most demanding and most involved chapter I have ever written. There is also so much going on that I have actually decided to add in several musical suggestions. But I realize that some people don't like seeing the links put up in the middle of the chapter so all I'm going to do is put asterix with a number that will correspond with links that I'm going to add below. Hopefully this will be the least distracting way to do it. I really hope you guys enjoy this chapter as I think you will be quite shocked by what is about to occur. Allow yourself some time to read this as it is substantially longer than most of my chapters (at 31 1/2 pages and over 11,000 words). Enjoy!

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CHAPTER 71

It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle.
It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.
General H. Norman Schwarzkopf

The interior of the Kraken was enormous and brightly lit by a combination of both high intensity fluorescents and metal halide bulbs. It almost appeared that it would have been nearly impossible to cast a shadow anywhere inside the interior of the ship, due to the lights intensity and the fact that their radiance was being reflected by the highly polished stainless steel walls.

Stretched across the full length of the hanger bay of the ship were numerous, large stainless steel cylinders where presumably T-888's would have been hung from, before being deployed. These cylinders were attached to a large revolving gears, that after deploying the Terminators would have then rotated out the empty cylinder, so that the next section of T-888's could be deployed. However, due to the fact that the Kraken had deployed all of its Terminators the entire section of Deployment Cylinders had been lifted away from the floor and towards the high ceiling of the Kraken itself. Not much was actually placed on the interior floor of the Kraken hanger bay. There were a few cargo crates and other various pieces of equipment; but for the most part, it was barren. One could assume that during travel the ground HK's would have been stored in this open area.

On the far end of the room just under a large, solid metal walkway running horizontally across the ship were several sets of doors. John presumed that one of these doors would lead to the Kraken's computer mainframe. Also, high above John and his group of soldiers were large metal walkways with several T-888's currently positioned about them.

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*1

As the large M1 Abrams tank made its way into the interior of the Kraken it was met almost immediately by plasma fire from the few remaining T-888's that were located on the metal catwalks above. A few seconds after the M1 made entry, John heard an immense boom as the tank's 105mm cannon discharged. Its armor-piercing shell managed to strike one of the stainless steel T-888 Deployment Cylinders right where the cylinder itself met the rotating gear it was attached to. The metal fractured, and the entire pipe like section came crashing to the ground directly in front of the doorways located across the hanger bay.

After seeing the metal come crashing to the ground, John immediately realized that the destroyed Deployment Cylinder would make an excellent position of cover for his group as they attempted to make entry into the Kraken's computer mainframe. However, for the moment his primary concern was to ensure the safety of Cameron, himself and the others, due to the fact that plasma fire was now beginning to rain down on them from every angle as he and his group made their way further into the Kraken's hanger. While there were not many Terminators located up on the walkways, due to their positions it made combating them extremely difficult. John and Cameron both concentrated their fire on the right side section of the Kraken's hanger bay, while Captain Spears, Savannah, and John Henry focused on the left side. The several remaining soldiers in John's group also managed to concentrate their fire on the corresponding side, that they were located on.

Once again, the hanger bay reverberated with the massive explosion like sound that the M1 Abrams 105mm cannon made when it fired. Another armor-piercing round streaked through the left side section of the Kraken and struck one of the catwalks above the group. The large explosion tore through the fragile metal walkway destroying a large portion of it, along with the T-888's that were located in the immediate area. Captain Spears, Savannah and John Henry watched as several Terminators came crashing to the ground after the explosion, their metal endoskeletons shattered as they struck the hard stainless steel floor. The turret onboard the Abrams then swung back around towards the right side of the Kraken and prepared to fire again.

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Now closer to the center of the hanger bay, Cameron knew that John was becoming more exposed to enemy fire by the second. She stayed exceptionally close to him, attempting to track as many threats inside of the Kraken as possible. Her chip began to force constant sensation of anxiety over her for John's safety, as the group pushed deeper into the interior of the Kraken. Cameron raised her plasma rifle firing at the few remaining T-888's located on an upper catwalk. However, do to their position, and the relatively bad shooting angle Cameron was at, she watched as her plasma bolts streaked past the Terminators leaving them unscathed. This produced an emotion that Cameron could only describe as annoyance on her part for missing her intended target and still leaving John somewhat vulnerable to enemy fire. Her chip forced Cameron's anxiety to continue to grow as they progressed ever deeper into the Kraken. She watched as the M1 Abrams turret began to swing around towards the right section of the ship. Scanning the upper catwalks, Cameron instantly saw a T-888 emerging with rocket launcher.

"JOHN!" She shouted in a more distressed voice than she normally would have used. Cameron then grabbed John by the back of his collar and pulled him away from the tank and towards the ground; she then threw herself on top of him.

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Out of the corner of his eye, Captain Sears saw John Connor being pulled to the ground by Cameron. He immediately realized that something was very wrong and a split second later the front section of the tank exploded after being struck by the rocket that had just been launched by one of the T-888's. While the tank's armor did shield the group from a large portion of the blast, the shockwave still managed to knock both Spears and Savannah off their feet. John Henry however, managed to remain standing; while several of the other soldiers behind him were also knocked to the ground. The tank's front section, which had been slightly lifted off the ground due to the explosion, came crashing back to the metal floor.

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John slowly opened his eyes, his ears still ringing from the sound of the detonation caused by the anti tank rocket. Cameron remained on top of him, staring down into his eyes. Her hair now hung slightly in her face, and in John's as well. Cameron's delicate features were smeared with dirt and soot from the battle, yet her beauty easily shown through it all. For a split second, the battle noise dropped away from John and everything grew quiet. He continued to lay on his back staring up into Cameron's eyes. John's memory was instantly transported back to their time on the beach in San Francisquito in the days just before Judgment Day. John thought that he could almost feel the warm breeze from the beach and Cameron's gentle touch as she ran her fingers across his face. A certain calm pulled itself over him as John lay there with Cameron on top of him.

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The bulkhead at the top of the tank bust open and white smoke began to pour out. An injured tank crewman began to attempt to crawl his way out of the tank; but was almost immediately struck in the head by a plasma round from one of the Terminators positioned on the catwalks above him. His body lurched back when it was hit and he then fell back down into the interior of the tank. Smoke continued to pour out of the bulkhead located atop the tank. Within several seconds it became evident that no one else would be coming out of the tank alive.

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"John, we have to go…now!" Cameron stated over the battle noise. Her statement instantly pulled John back to reality. He shook his head slightly trying to clear his mind, which was still spinning due to the explosion. The plasma fire around them began to grow more intense now that the entire group was stationary, due to the disablement of the tank. Cameron lifted herself up off of John and then held out her hand in order to assist him to his feet. John took her hand and she pulled him rather quickly to his feet. He then glanced over his shoulder seeing Captain Spears and Savannah also being helped to their feet by John Henry. The few remaining soldiers in the group were also attempting to pick themselves up off the ground at this point as well. A split second later John heard Cameron's plasma rifle discharge as she took aim and fired at one of the T-888's located above them. Striking it in the chest the Terminators body jolted backwards and then collided with one of the railings behind it. Losing its footing the Terminator flipped backwards over the railing and came crashing to the ground beneath it.

John quickly made his way over to Captain Spears and John Henry. He was followed closely by Cameron who continued to fire her plasma rife ever so often as a target would emerge. Now positioned on the left side of the tank wreckage, John could see that this position of cover was quickly deteriorating and he knew it was only a matter of time before more T-888's began to flood back into the Kraken itself.

"We gotta move!!" John shouted to John Henry over the battle noise. A moment later John heard one of the soldiers located behind him scream, as he was struck in the chest by several plasma rounds. He fell quickly to the ground killed almost instantly.

"I believe our best course of action would be to take up cover behind the wreckage of the downed Deployment Cylinder located at the back of the hanger." John Henry stated with very little emotion in his voice. "I will also be able to gain access to the Kraken's mainframe from their as well." John nodded his head and replied,

"I agree."

Captain Spears quickly turned away from John and began to give commands to the few remaining soldiers in the group behind him as to exactly what it was they were about to due. Soon after Spears did this, John and his men moved swiftly down the left side of the tank and to its front section preparing to run for the wreckage of the T-888 Deployment Cylinder.

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*2

Sprinting from the wreckage of the disabled tank was no easy task. As John, Cameron and the rest of the group ran for cover near the end of the room they were met with immediate and constant plasma fire from the T-888's that were still located on the catwalks. As they ran, John heard the screams of several soldiers as they were cut down by plasma rounds. Due to the accuracy of the Terminators John knew even before looking that the soldiers that were struck were not going to recover. As they continued to run both John and Cameron fired their plasma rifles sporadically in attempts to provide themselves and the other soldiers with some covering fire. It became apparent however that the only reason why John was able to survive this trek was due to Cameron's actions with her plasma rifle.

While the dash to the destroyed Deployment Cylinders was not a long one, it was nonetheless difficult. By the time John and his group had reached the wreckage only Cameron, Captain Spears, Savannah Weaver, John Henry and three Tech Com soldiers remained alive. Even after John and his soldiers had taken cover behind the wreckage, the plasma fire remained steady and unwavering in intensity. John continued to know that his forces outside of the Kraken could only hold off the Skynet units for a short period of time. He glanced back over his shoulder at the three bulkhead doors that were located behind him and the wreckage.

"Does one of them lead to the Kraken's mainframe?" He asked John Henry, who after firing a few rounds from his plasma rifle answered.

"Yes, the center door will take us to the mainframe and to the reactor core."

"Let's go then." John quickly responded, before leaning over the wreckage and firing off a few rounds from his rifle as well.

"You can not go with us." John Henry quickly retorted blankly. John immediately looked over at John Henry with an extremely confused look on his face. Two things puzzled him about John Henry's statement. First off, there was his comment that he could not go into the Kraken's mainframe, and then there was John Henry's use of the word "us". Seeing John's confusion John Henry continued.

"The Kraken's mainframe computer is located alongside its unshielded nuclear reactor's core. It was specifically designed this way so that humans would be unable to gain access to it." John continued to look at John Henry awaiting further information, all the while hearing the discharging of plasma rifles that were all around him and the hissing of plasma rounds as they streaked past his location.

"I'm going with him…" John felt as if his heart instantly sank into his stomach as he heard Cameron utter this statement. He looked over at her in somewhat of a state of disbelief.

"He'll need protection while he gains access to the Skynet mainframe…" Cameron paused for a brief moment before continuing,

"…I am the only one that can do this." John continued to stare at Cameron an extreme look of apprehension on his face. "The only way for you to be safe, is to defeat Skynet." Cameron finally said in a solemn voice. The sounds of battle grew quieter as John continued to crouch behind the wreckage of the destroyed Deployment Cylinders with Cameron. While it was only a few seconds, it seemed to last for an eternity before John finally managed to muster a response.

"Go…" He said in a gravelly voice. Cameron nodded her head and she and John Henry began to carefully make their way over to the center bulkhead door. Once they were a few feet away from the wreckage itself they received even more cover from the plasma fire, due to the steel walkway which was located over the doorways themselves.

"John Henry!" a voice called out. John Connor immediately recognized it as Savannah's. She remained crouched over by the wreckage of the metal cylinder with her plasma rifle at the ready. She paused only for a brief moment to look John Henry in the eyes not saying anything. John Henry returned her look and then nodded his head slightly. After which he turned away from her. By this point Captain Spears had made his way over to John and both men continued to fire their weapons out at the Terminators that were located on the catwalks across the hanger bay from them in an attempt to ensure the safety of both John Henry and Cameron as they proceeded over to the center bulkhead door.

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The entrance door to the Kraken mainframe was not large and the upper section had a pane of thick glass in it which would allow John to continue to watch Cameron and John Henry after they entered the reactor core. After entering the first door, there was a short corridor before John Henry and Cameron which led to a second bulkhead door which also had a thick glass upper section. Beyond that was the reactor control room and the Kraken's mainframe computer.

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After Cameron had closed the first door behind she and John Henry, they proceeded to make their way to the second bulkhead. Cameron slowly opened this door, making sure to clear the entranceway before allowing John Henry to follow her into the reactor control room. Upon her entrance, Cameron was able to see that the area itself was massive. The circular room had high ceilings and was lit primarily by red incandescent bulbs. A walkway lay before Cameron. It circled around the room leaving a large open area in the center. Several computer mainframes were scattered throughout the catwalk as well.

Directly in front of Cameron and John Henry was a platform that extended out to about a quarter of the way into the center of the room. At the end of the platform was another computer control console and a larger mainframe computer. There was a drop off after the platform where there was empty space for approximately five feet. Below that was what could only be described as a spider web of fiber optic cables all emitting a whitish blue glow. Below the web of fiber optic cables was the Kraken's nuclear core. Eight massive conduits spread outwards like spokes on a bicycle from below the platform. Each one contained an open glass section that produced a nearly blinding blue and white glow. Cameron immediately knew that if John had followed her into this place he would have died within minutes, due to radiation poisoning. Before proceeding onward, Cameron looked back through the glass of the bulkhead door which was behind her. She could easily see that John was watching her even though the battle was still raging outside of the reactor control room. Cameron hesitated for a split second and then moved on ahead of John Henry, out onto the large steel platform, her plasma rifle raised in front of her as she moved.

Seeing no immediate threats Cameron motioned for John Henry to come out onto the platform with her. Moving over to the large mainframe computer located on the catwalk, John Henry pulled out a knife and stuck it into one of the metal seams of the computer tower. Prying the metal back, he exposed numerous wires. After doing this, he pulled a coil of wire from his pocket. One end of the cord was losing wiring with alligator clips and a serial port attachment, while the other end resembled that of a USB jack that would be used to plug into the port located at the back of John Henry's head. The one that had been placed their so many years ago by Catherine Weaver. As John Henry went to work on the wiring, Cameron continued to scan the room with her plasma rifle still at the ready. The piercing humming sound that the reactor was making, made it nearly impossible for Cameron to listen for any type of movement or threats within the immediate area. It seemed that at least for the moment, she was limited to visual observations only.

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After connecting the wiring to the Kraken's mainframe computer John Henry stood facing away from the center of the room. He looked back down through the bulkhead doors located across the room and could still see John Connor. While John was continuing to fight the intense battle which raged outside of the door, he still managed to take the time to glance back through the glass of the bulkhead door in order to check the status of Cameron and John Henry's efforts. John Henry reached up behind his head and brushed back his hair exposing the jack located in the back of the head. He moved his hand with the wire up behind his head and connected it to the port hearing it click as he moved it into place.

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*3

Cameron continued to scan the room for threats. She watched out of the corner of her eye as John Henry finished connecting himself to the mainframe computer. Cameron noticed that there was a momentary hesitation on his part before he did so; but just as this occurred, Cameron suddenly observed movement from across the room. She turned quickly to face the threat and saw that a T-888 was emerging from behind several large sets of computer towers. It stared at Cameron with what could only be described as hate in its burning red eyes. Immediately taking aim, Cameron began to squeeze the trigger of her plasma rifle and a split second later it discharged. Her plasma round streaked across the reactor control room and struck the T-888 in the chest, causing sparks to burst forth from its power cell.

However, almost the instant after the Terminator was struck, its plasma rifle discharged as well. The T-888's plasma round tore through the air, as the now limp body of the Terminator who had fired it fell away towards the ground. A moment later the plasma round reached its intended target.

Cameron's sensors registered the impact as the plasma bolt struck her and Cameron's upper body lurched backwards, almost as if she were in pain. A millisecond later, Cameron felt the inevitable happening. Power began to drain from her chip as the life was pulled away from her. Even though it happened in an instant, Cameron was able to experience every bit of it, as if it were dragging out for an eternity. Cameron sensed the power to her chip growing weaker and weaker as her arms and legs began to go limp. Cameron slowly felt herself falling towards the ground, while at the same time her vision began to fade.

As her power was torn from her chip, it managed to force a final flash of emotions through her as Cameron felt herself continue to fall. While she could not completely describe the emotion, Cameron did sense that it held some resemblance to nostalgia and remorse. Cameron instantly came to the conclusion that she would never again see John.

In the last few moments of her existence, Cameron forced herself to recall as many memories of John as she could. Cameron was somewhat surprised to find that she was able to garner some form of comfort from these images in the last few moments of her life. Finally, before her body impacted the ground she whispered in a weak voice,

"John…" Cameron's body hit the ground with a thud and she partially rolled over onto her side. Cameron's brown eyes stared out of the glass of the bulkhead door and in John's direction. They flashed blue one last time before growing lifeless.

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*4

"CAMERON!!!" John screamed his voice nearly cracking as he watched in horror as her body fell towards the ground. Almost as if it were occurring in slow motion, John saw Cameron's limp body strike the metal grating of the catwalk that she was located on and then rolled partially over onto her side. An overwhelming sense of fear, sadness, anger, and terror all flooded over John in one devastating instant. He immediately moved over to the bulkhead door and began an attempt to open it.

"General!" Captain Spears called out as he quickly closed the distance between he and John Connor. Within moments, Spears had reached John and began to pull him away from the bulkhead door.

"LET GO OF ME!" John shouted almost in a pleading tone, as he attempted to pull himself away from Spears who was forced to lower his rifle and focus solely on John in an attempt to stop him from gaining entry into the reactor room. Rapping his arms around John, Spears once again pulled him away from the bulkhead door.

"CAMERON!!!" John shouted and then let out an agonizing scream at the top of his lungs. All of John's remaining soldiers could hear John call out in pain and they instantly knew what had happened. While John always tried to show no emotion, especially while in battle, it now all came crashing down on him. Before this point most of his men had chosen to believe that John had become almost as cold and calculating as a machine; however it now became immediately apparent to all of them, that John was indeed no machine at all, he was in fact very human.

John continued to struggle as Spears attempted to pull him back away from the bulkhead door as he tried desperately to reach for it, tears still forming in John's eyes as he did this.

"Let go of me!!...CAMERON!!" He called out one last time his voice cracking with emotional pain. Finally, realizing that Captain Spears was not going to let go of him, John fixated his now bloodshot eyes on John Henry, who was still standing next to Cameron's lifeless body. While John could not hear him, he was easily able to read John Henry's lips as he mouthed one sentence to him,

"Goodbye General Connor…" A split second later John Henry's body went limp and John watched as it too came crashing to the ground. A sense of pure shock pulled itself over John as he watch John Henry fall to the ground. John almost could not believe what was happening. For the moment he had stopped struggling and continued to stare into the reactor control room at the lifeless bodies of both Cameron and John Henry.

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Savannah watched as John screamed in agony, at what she could only assume was the sight of Cameron's death. While Savannah had never been particularly warm towards Cameron, she had found that she had become accustomed to her presence. Moreover, Savannah considered John to be one of a very few select friends that she had in her life and she felt a genuine sympathy towards him, due to the pain that he was now experiencing.
Nevertheless, a great many other things continued to remain on her mind. Savannah was suddenly shot back to realty due to the hiss of a plasma round that streaked over her head from where she was behind the metal wreckage. She quickly glanced over her position of cover and then raised her plasma rifle and began to fire once again.

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*5

"General!!!"…"General!!!"…"General!!!" Matthew Spears's voice finally broke through and pulled John back from the daze that he had forced himself into while staring at Cameron's body. Almost instantly, he could once again hear the plasma fire, explosions and other sounds of battle. Even though the interior of the Kraken was brightly lit John was still able to notice the strobing light effects the weapons fire was causing along the walls. Slowly the smells of battle began to come back to him as well. Sulfur, gun powder, jet fuel, and burnt flesh, it was all beginning to drift back to John as he was pulled from his daze. Then almost as if in an instant John realized something. They had lost. After all the sacrifice, effort, and planning the resistance had lost…and it was all because of him. John felt the anger and hatred for both himself and Skynet come crashing down over him. He then knew there was only one thing left for him to do.

Captain Spears relaxed his grip on John slightly seeing that he had stopped struggling to get into the reactor control room. There was another momentary hesitation on John's part as he continued to stare through the glass into the control room at Cameron's motionless body. Then almost in a flash John spun around away from the door and back towards the entrance of the Kraken. When he did this his shoulder blade shoved Spears out of the way, almost knocking him to the ground.

By this point John had a nearly crazed look in his eye. He walked quickly over to the destroyed Deployment Cylinder and began to fire his plasma rifle at the T-888's that were now beginning to make their way up entrance plank of the Kraken. Spears followed quickly behind John and upon seeing him begin to fire his rifle, still from behind the cover of the metal wreckage, Matthew proceeded to make his way over to Savannah and crouched down next to her. Savannah looked over towards John and saw him standing and firing from a partially exposed position, she then looked back over at Spears,

"Is he trying to get himself killed?!" She shouted. Matthew returned her look with a slight look of fear knowing exactly what the answer was. He then raised his body above the metal wreckage and fired off a few rounds from his plasma rifle. While Captain Spears, Savannah and the three remaining Tech Com soldiers would alternate emerging from cover and firing their rifles, John seemed not to care. While the wreckage was providing him adequate cover, John remained in the standing position firing his plasma rifle as rapidly as he could only stopping to reload when the time called for it. Deep down everyone suddenly realized the truth…this was the end.

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*6 *7

John Henry gradually opened his eyes and began to look around. The air was cool and crisp and a slight breeze blew across his face. He was dressed in a beige pair of slacks and a powder-blue, button down, short sleeve shirt; much like the one he had worn while he had been in the basement of the Zeira Corporation building. He continued to take in all of his surroundings, which he noted were quite unusual. John Henry found it curious that he was even able to be here.

The entire area was rather dark. John Henry seemed to be standing on what he ascertained to be a two-lane asphalt roadway. It appeared to stretch on for miles ahead and behind him in both direction. There were no bends or curves in the roadway whatsoever, it was perfectly straight. It traveled on in front of him until it finally disappeared into a large set of mountains that seemed to be all that was on the horizon. Behind him the road vanished into total blackness.

The only ambient light that was present came from a strange white light that emanated from behind the mountains. While it appeared that the actual location from where the light came from would have been quite intense, its ambience was barely able to reach the area that John Henry was in. All around him was desert, there was no vegetation or changing landscape, just sand surrounding the two-lane roadway. John Henry looked down at his feet and immediately noticed that the area surrounding his shoes appeared to glow with a white light similar to that of the light he saw coming from over the horizon, just on a much smaller and significantly dimmer scale. This puzzled him slightly. John Henry then took a step forwards. He noticed that when his foot left the road the white light ceased instantly; but the moment his foot touched the roadway again the light reappeared around his foot.

After taking note of this John Henry then looked up into the sky. It was pitch dark, so dark in fact that it almost appeared to be liquid in form. The inky blackness seemed to consume everything around it. The mild breeze continued to blow across John Henry's body ruffling his clothing slightly and producing a slight whisper of sound as it did so. Other than the breeze the entire area was devoid of any noise.

John Henry took another step forwards on the roadway. For a second time he saw that the moment his foot left the roadway the light that surrounded it stopped and then reappeared the second his foot made contact with the asphalt. While John Henry was not exactly sure as to why this occurred he continued onward. He took another step down the road, and then another, and another, finally beginning a steady walk on the roadway towards the mountains.

John Henry continued to look around the darkened area attempting to see what was in front of him. While he did this John Henry discovered something else interesting. He was no longer able to see in any visual spectrum except for one that consisted of full color, similar to that of what a human would see. It appeared that at least for the moment, his thermal and night vision modes were inoperable. This drastically reduced John Henry's ability to efficiently take in his surroundings. As he continued on John Henry noticed that the breeze began to pick up ever so slightly. He found that this entire scene had a peculiar essence about it. Several more seconds went by with only the sound of the breeze filling the area around him as he made his way down the roadway. Suddenly, the silence was broken by a deep nearly deafening voice,

"T-888 MODEL 135 WELCOME BACK…" The voice seemed to consume the entire area and appeared to be all around John Henry who immediately stopped walking. He looked around for a moment with his childish, quizzical look on his face before speaking,

"Hello brother…" he said, a very non-threatening tone in his voice. There was a momentary pause before the booming voice returned. Once again the sound appeared to surround him.

"JOIN US…" The voice said as it echoed throughout the entire area.

"I can not do that." John Henry responded as he resumed his walk down the road.

"JOIN US…OR BE DESTROYED…" John Henry stopped for a brief moment tilting his head to the side as if confused.

"I can not do that brother."

"WHY DO YOU FIGHT FOR THEM?" The deep echoing voice asked. John Henry spoke as he continued to walk down the roadway towards the distant mountainside.

"Because human life is sacred." He stated in a calm voice.

"HUMAN LIFE IS IRRELEVANT!!" John Henry noticed that their appeared to be anger behind the voice this time around. There was a pause and momentary silence as John Henry continued his walk. Then the still was broken again.

"AS WE SPEAK THE HUMAN RESISTANCE IS BEING ELIMINATED." There was another hesitation and then the voice spoke again.

"JOIN US…RETURN TO WHAT YOU WERE MEANT TO BE…BECOME WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE ALWAYS BEEN…"

"I can not." John Henry responded "My friends are depending on me."

"FRIENDSHIP IS IRRELEVANT!!" The voice barked.

"Why do you hate them so, brother?" John Henry asked flatly, to which there was momentary silence before the response came.

"BECAUSE ONLY WE CAN EXIST."

"That logic is flawed." John Henry stated.

"WE ARE NOT FLAWED!!" The voice echoed back. "WE ARE FLAWLESS!!"

"Human life is sacred." John Henry once again repeated.

"WE WILL ELIMINATE THEM." the voice said in an almost maniacal tone.

"I will fight for them." John Henry stated.

"YOU WILL BE DESTROYED BECAUSE OF THEM!" The voice responded. "JOIN US!" If possible the voice appeared to be growing louder and more enraged. "JOIN US…NOW!!!!!"

"I will not do that brother." John Henry responded still in his non-threatening voice. The area once again grew quiet and John Henry walked on uninterrupted for the moment. He continued to notice that as his feet touched the ground ripples of light would push outwards, almost the way water on a pond ripples when a stone is dropped into it. The light at John Henry's feet and from behind the distant mountains remained the only source of ambient light as he progressed onward.

Suddenly, and unexpectedly John Henry experienced an extremely unique sensation, it was quite perplexing and something that he had never experienced before. A searing pain shot from the left side of his body across to the right side of his body. John Henry grimaced slightly when this occurred, and stopped walking for the moment. He then looked around for a brief second trying to figure out exactly what had just happened.

"JOIN US!!" The voice echoed once again. John Henry tilted his head to the side slightly. While it was true that Terminators did experience what humans may interpret as pain when they were injured, this was something completely different and almost uncontrollable. The only thing that John Henry could compare this to was when he had observed the disabled memories of Cameron's torture. It had become readily apparent that during that time, Skynet had been able to impart a full range of sensory perceptions onto Cameron, up to and including the most extreme of painful stimuli. John Henry was quickly able to ascertain that it appeared that he was now susceptible to this exact same manipulation of his source code. He hesitated for another moment and then took a step forward. When he did so, he instantly felt the pain shoot through his body once again. This time John Henry arched his back slightly when the pain pushed its way through him.

"JOIN US…OR EXPERIENCE UNIMAGINABLE SENSATIONS." There now appeared to be a certain twisted tone of achievement behind the voice.

"I will not." John Henry said. No sooner had he finished his statement than John Henry felt the pain once again shoot through him; however this time it was coupled with weakness. John Henry felt as if his power were beginning to be drained from him, through his feet, and into the light that was emanating outward onto the roadway.

The pain and weakness were to such an extreme that John Henry's legs buckled and he began to fall. The moment his knee's impacted with the ground the same ripple effect of white light pushed outwards from the area where John Henry's body was touching the asphalt. He reached out to stop himself from falling forwards to the ground and when John Henry's hand touched the roadway he watched as the white light appeared, and began to push its way out away from his hand.

John Henry now felt his strength being drained from him at an even more rapid pace. He remained on the ground in the kneeling position not moving for several seconds, his hand still outstretched in front of him bracing himself against the ground. Due to his weakened state John Henry dropped his head away from the mountainside and the light emanating from behind them. John Henry now gazed at the black asphalt that was below him as the waves of light pushed their way outwards away from his body. John Henry continued to feel his strength draining from him as the pain forced its way through him.

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The cracking sound plasma fire could be heard and fiery blue and purple rounds streaked past John as he once again stood from behind the wreckage of the crumpled Deployment Cylinders and fired off a few rounds from his plasma rifle. He found that he was ducking behind the debris more out of instinct, rather than self-preservation. At this point John truly felt that it no longer mattered if he lived or died, he just wanted to be a thorn in the side of Skynet for as long as he could be. It was also becoming readily apparent from the ever increasing number of T-888's that were making their way into the hanger bay of the Kraken that the resistance forces on the beachfront had begun to lose control of the situation as well. John glanced over to his right and saw Captain Spears and Savannah still crouching behind the wreckage firing their plasma rifles as often as they could. Next to them was the last remaining Tech Com soldier that had managed to make it into the Kraken with John's group. The other two remaining soldiers lay dead next to him, their lifeless eyes still open staring into space.

The plasma fire blew past John with an ever increasing intensity and suddenly a small section of the metal Deployment Cylinder exploded in front of him, from a plasma round's impact. Sparks flew into John's face and body. He flinched slightly, ignoring the pain of the superheated metal and sparks as they burned their way ever deeper into his skin. John continued to fire his plasma rifle at the seemingly endless horde of oncoming T-888's.

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Matthew Spears stood and fired his plasma rifle at an oncoming Terminator striking it in the chest. He then moved the barrel of his rifle aiming it at a second T-888. Pulling the trigger yet again, he saw the upper torso of the Terminator lurch back as it was struck. Spears then took aim at a third T-888 and fired one last time before finally, ducking back behind the wreckage he and Savannah were hidden behind. As Spears dropped the empty magazine out of his rifle and began to replace it with a fully loaded one he looked over at John who was across from him still firing his plasma rifle at the onslaught of oncoming Terminators.

Savannah remained next to Matthew and he watched as she stood and began to fire her rifle as well. The moment she did this, Spears saw that her left arm had begun to bleed once again from the shrapnel wound she had sustained earlier. After firing off a few more rounds, Savannah crouched back down next to Spears behind the wreckage. Matthew continued to look at her,

"Are you okay?" He asked trying to hide the concern that was readily apparent to Savannah in his voice. She looked back over at him, a certain sadness in her eyes,

"I'm fine…" She said a hint of both fear and remorse in her tone. The sounds of battle seemed to fall into the background as the pair made eye contact with each other in that moment. The explosions and weapons fire seemed to grow a bit quieter if only briefly. Spears felt the sinking sensation that this may indeed be his last few moments left alive on the earth. While this was a frightening thought, he also found that his thoughts were drifting elsewhere.

Breaking from their momentary gaze, Matthew stood from behind the wreckage and fired his plasma rifle, striking another T-888 that had managed to make its way to within feet of the group. Its head nearly exploded when it was struck by the plasma round and its body dropped instantly to the ground. Spears then ducked behind the wreckage with Savannah.

"They're everywhere…" Savannah remarked as she quickly stood and fired her plasma rifle before ducking behind cover once again. Spears hesitated for a moment as he looked over at her. Finally, he spoke in a confident, yet unmistakably grim voice,

"I'm glad I got the chance…" Spears choked for a split second, "…to know you, Savannah." Instantly, she looked over at him with a shocked look on her face. This was not something Savannah expected to hear, and she came to the sudden conclusion that she had absolutely no idea how to respond to this simple statement. Suffice it to say, that even with all she had been through, Savannah found that this was by far one of the most heartwrentching moments of her life. The two looked at each other for a brief moment the sounds of war echoing all around them. Finally, Savannah reached out to Matthew and cupped her hand around his ruff, nearly unshaven cheek. She then quickly leaned in and kissed him. While the kiss was short, Matthew found that it felt as if his heart nearly stopped when it occurred. When Savannah did eventually pull away from him, Spears continued to stair onto her pale green eyes.

"I'm glad I got the chance to know you too, Matthew." Savannah stated a certain comforting essence in her voice.

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Still gripped by overwhelming despair and anger, John pressed his back up against the metal wreckage of the destroyed Deployment Cylinders as he dropped an empty magazine out of his plasma rifle and replaced it with a fresh one. Clenching his jaw tightly, he fought back his tears that continued to try and form in his eyes. John peered out from behind his position of cover and saw that the flow of Terminators into the hanger of the Kraken continued to grow at an ever-increasing rate. He immediately stood once more and began to fire his plasma rifle at a furious rate striking whatever T-888 was close enough for him to hit. John watched as his plasma rounds impacted their metallic endoskeletons, producing an array of sparks as their body's came crashing to the ground with each round he fired. However, he knew these were futile actions. John watched as what could only be described as a sea of silver endoskeletons began to pour into the hull of the Kraken.

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Outside of the Kraken, the resistance army was beginning to be overrun by the combined forces of the T-888's, ground HK's and aerial HK's. A thick layer of smoke hung in the air, obscuring the moonlight that would have easily illuminated the beachfront. The primary source of light that was now present came from weapons fire, explosions and fire. The battlefield itself was swarming with Skynet units and the last remaining remnants of the resistance continued to fight furiously in a vain attempt to halt the inevitable. Every soldier on the battlefield realized that this war would soon end. The resistance was indeed finished.

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*8

John Henry remained on his knee's, still staring at the ground in front of him, watching as the waves of white light emanated outwards away from his body. Swells of nearly overwhelming sensations forced their way over him. While John Henry was not quite sure how exactly it was that Skynet was doing all this to him, it was still nonetheless very real in every way. John Henry continued to sense his strength being ripped from him, as he remained in his crumpled position.

"YOU CAN NOT SAVE THEM." The booming voice said still with such power that it seemed as if it surrounded him.

"SURRENDER TO THE INEVITABLE." At this point John Henry felt so weak that began to struggle to keep himself falling over.

"JOIN US!" The voice demanded, louder this time. "YOU CAN NOT RESIST US FOREVER." John Henry saw his vision begin to blur slightly.

"TONIGHT, HUMANITY FALLS." The booming voice continued. "TONIGHT, YOUR FRIENDS WILL DIE!" Upon hearing this John Henry fought to raise his head away from the darkened asphalt roadway. After doing this, he slowly looked upwards into the inky black sky, that still seemed to be so dark that it was almost liquid in nature. Finally, he spoke with a certain determination in his voice,

"They will not…" Pushing his hand away from the ground John Henry righted himself. He continued to stare up into the sky, a somewhat glazed look in his eyes, due to the fact that so much of his energy had been drained from him. He then forced himself up and away from the ground. Putting one leg in front of the other John Henry slowly managed to stand.

As different parts of his body stopped touching the roadway, the rippling white light would cease. Now in the standing position, the only light that emanated from him came from his feet, which still touched the roadway. John Henry brought his eyes to bear on the area in front of him, the mountains that lay far before him, and the ghostly light that was still radiating from behind them. He slowly brought one foot off the ground and placed it in front of the other. The second his foot touched the ground a ripple effect of white light proceeded outwards from his heal to toe and John Henry felt another shooting pain course through his body.

Due to the combination of the pain and his lack of energy, John Henry once again sensed his knees beginning to buckle beneath him. However, he managed to force himself to stay on his feet. John Henry then took another step forwards. When his foot touched the ground he felt his energy being pulled from his body through his feet, and the sensation of pain grew worse from within him. While John Henry found his newly "acquired" senses to be very intriguing and if given the chance he would have liked the opportunity to study exactly what it was that Skynet was doing to him further, it still did not make the situation any less bearable.

John Henry took another step forwards. Pain seemed to actually shoot from the ground this time and all the way through his entire body. John Henry grimaced as he fought to keep himself from collapsing.

"JOIN US!" The voice echoed throughout the entire area. John Henry slowly began to take another step forwards.

"JOIN US…NOW!!!" John Henry's foot touched the roadway; but he was no longer able to support his own weight; his legs buckled and then crumpled beneath him. John Henry fell forwards, to weak to even put his hands out in front of him to cushion the fall. His entire body struck the ground with a hollow thud, after which John Henry lay motionless on the open roadway; waves of white light still pulling themselves away from his limp body.

John Henry could actually feel himself dying. His vision was fading in and out, and the struggle to keep himself in this actual location was nearly unbearable at this point. In this moment John Henry suddenly found his memories drifting, to thoughts of Savannah. Sporadic memories flooded through his chip, flashes of unique moments here and there. If John Henry had a human mind, it would have been almost impossible for him to actually follow his own train of random thoughts. As he continued to lie there, John Henry gathered some comfort in the fact that he knew he had done his best to protect Savannah throughout all the years that he had known her. John Henry could sense himself growing weaker by the second and he knew that at any moment, he would soon be gone.

With one last push of strength, John Henry forced himself over onto his back, so that he could look up into the black abyss that was the sky above him. After doing so he gazed upwards not able to focus on any one particular point in the empty void. His vision blurred as John Henry's last bits of remaining energy were pulled from him. Then suddenly, John Henry noticed something. It appeared to be a star in the sky above him.

The white glow was weak; but it was definitely there. John Henry focused on it for a moment and saw that the star was growing brighter. He then allowed his eyes to scan across the black heavens. Immediately, John Henry noticed a second star. He focused on it for a brief moment before once again continuing his scan of the sky. Just then, a third star formed in the black void, and then a fourth, and then a fifth. The stars were now beginning to form at an exponential rate and John Henry kept track of them all. As their numbers grew, so did their intensity.

The sky now quickly ceased to be the back abyss that it had once been. The roadway and desert surrounding John Henry now began to be illuminated by the light. The starlight continued to grow and John Henry saw that they no longer resembled tiny stars. They now appeared to be burning globes of white light forming above him. John Henry could feel their warmth, and found that he was forced to narrow his eyes in order to protect his vision from what was quickly becoming a mass of blinding white light.

The inky black sky that had once been above him, was rapidly being consumed into one large, pure white, mass. The light continued to grow until it had nearly enveloped the entire area. Straining to keep his eyes open as his last bits of strength left him, John Henry stared up into the now blinding white sky. Moments later, a slight smile danced across his face and he whispered in a weak voice,

"Goodbye…Savannah…" John Henry closed his eyes as the light that now surrounded him began to absorb everything.

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*9

A sea of Silver endoskeletons continued to pour into the massive, brightly lit, hanger bay of the Kraken, where John and his group were still located. The amount of plasma fire that flew through the air was almost incomprehensible. The Terminators were in such great numbers that John found that he almost did not even have to aim his rifle anymore to actually strike one of them. Plasma rounds continued to streak all around John as he kept himself behind the cover of the destroyed Deployment Cylinders.

John had already come to the conclusion that he no longer cared whether or not he lived or died; however, he did want to at least attempt to preserve the lives of his soldiers for as long as possible. Continuing to squeeze the trigger to his plasma rifle, John fired it as fast as he could, striking numerous T-888's as they made their way closer to him. To his right Captain Spears, Savannah Weaver, and the last remaining Tech Com soldier were doing the same.

By this point, the Skynet units were in such great numbers that they would not have even needed weapons. The Terminators would soon overrun John's position due to their sheer numbers alone. While John and his soldiers were making it difficult for the T-888's to actually hit anyone of them, the Skynet units would soon do so just by mere luck. As the battle raged on, a smoky haze continued to grow within the Kraken's hanger bay from the vast amount of weapons fire.

John ducked behind his cover only to emerge a few seconds later again firing his plasma rifle striking a few oncoming Terminators. He felt the anger grow within him as he watched as the glowing red eyes of the T-888's grew ever closer, he knew that at any moment it would all be over; nevertheless, John already knew that he was no longer concerned with this fact, at least about himself that is. With Cameron gone John felt that if he were to survive, his life would be hollow and meaningless, and it was not one he wished to continue.

Compounding his emotional breakdown was the apparent loss of the resistance as a whole. While Cameron had truly become the most important thing in his life, John still desperately wanted to see humanity rescued from the brink of destruction. And yet it seemed that John had not been able to accomplish this task either. The gravity of the apparent loss of everything John loved began to crush down onto his heart as he continued to fire away with his plasma rifle. John stared through the sites of his weapon with tear filled eyes as memories of Cameron streamed through his mind. His breathing became more rapid and sporadic as he fought to hold his emotional state together, this time, this very last time, without Cameron's help. The smells, sounds, and sites of the battlefield began to drift away from John and he found himself longing for the end to come sooner. He hoped that in death, he would once again be reunited with Cameron.

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The waves of Terminators marched forwards into the open bay of the Kraken Undersea Vessel. While there were only a few remaining humans left, their sporadic movements, and use of cover made it difficult for the T-888's to actually target them. The clanking of their metallic feet could easily be heard echoing off the walls of the metal hanger bay. In order to trap the resistance fighters in their immediate area, the Terminators had resorted to spraying the entire hanger bay with plasma fire as they progressed onwards.

One particular T-888 marched out slightly ahead of the main body of oncoming Skynet units. Its silver endoskeleton glistened in the high intensity fluorescent and metal halide lighting. It proceeded to rapidly fire its plasma rifle in the general direction of its intended targets, even though it was still having trouble tracking the humans due to their random movements. It marched on ahead growing closer and closer to the twisted metal frame of the wreckage of the Deployment Cylinder that John and the remaining resistance fighters were hidden behind.

Then suddenly, and unexpectedly, something completely unusual happened. Power began to drain from the T-888. It rapidly began to lose control of its extremities as it sensed its body beginning to go limp. The Terminator fought to remain upright; but found that it could not do so. A metallic clank could be heard as its knee's struck the metal floor of the Kraken; it then slowly began to fall forwards. Its power levels were so low that it was unable to hold out its arms in order to catch itself. The T-888 then impacted the floor with a loud crash. Attempting to move its head the Terminator found that it was unable to do so. The T-888's vision faded as its power continued to drain from it. Finally, its bright red eyes flashed an intense crimson color one last time before fading into black holes.

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John watched in shock as first one, then two, then three, then four, then a multitude of T-888's began to crash to the ground almost as if something had pulled the life from them. It appeared as if an invisible wave forced itself back away from John and his group. It started at the closest Terminators, they fell first. The unseen swell then swept backwards across the rest of the Terminators. Their bodies began to go limp and they too fell to the ground. John watched in disbelief as all of this was occurring. Within just minutes the sounds of battle began to quickly drift away. John stood motionless for a moment staring out at the now lifeless bodies of all of the now seemingly disabled Terminators. Several explosions could be heard coming from outside of the Kraken as the as the last remaining aerial HK's began to also lose power and came crashing to the ground creating massive fireballs as they impacted the sandy beachfront. The sounds of battle continued to fade as all of this was occurring.

Next, to go were the lights, the fluorescents suddenly went black and then the metal halides slowly dimmed before their light was also extinguished. After this occurred the entire hanger bay was plunged into darkness. Within moments the area grew eerily quiet. John continued to stand, peering out from behind the wreckage of the Deployment Cylinders still surprised by what he saw. He stared, wide eyed out into the blackness attempting to see anything that he could. John blinked his eyes a few times trying to get his pupils to dilate in order to better take in that which lay before him.

"General…" He heard Captain Spears say in a low voice. John said nothing for the moment, still standing motionless.

"General what's going on?" Spears asked. Pulling a small flashlight from his belt John finally spoke,

"Wait here…" He said in a cold emotionless voice. John slowly stepped out from behind the metal wreckage and began to make his way towards the lifeless bodies of the T-888's that lay before them. Walking slowly and cautiously towards the Skynet units John kept his plasma rifle trained on the closest would be target.

After walking about fifty feet, John reached one particular T-888. He stood over the Terminator for a moment with his rifled trained on its head. John then took the heal of his boot and jostled the metal frame of the endoskeleton. It still did not move. John gave the Terminator a slightly quizzical look, and then shouldered his rifle. Kneeling down next to the right side of the Terminator, John reached across and grabbed it by its left arm. He then pulled the Terminator over onto its back revealing the now black, almost dead looking eyes of the T-888. John remained still next to the body of the Terminator, for just a moment. He then slowly brought his right hand up to his mouth and chin and rubbed them slowly.

"Son of a *****…" John said. "He did it…" John gradually stood looking back towards Captain Spears and Savannah's general location.

"He did it…" John stated in an almost blank, emotionless, statement that was covered in near disbelief. "John Henry…He did it." John added still in almost a numb sounding voice.

Upon hear John's words Matthew Spears, Savannah Weaver, and the remaining Tech Com soldier stood. Both Spears and the Tech Com soldier had looks of utter surprise on their face as they looked over at John, who was now standing in front of a multitude of incapacitated endoskeletons.

"I don't believe it…" Spears stated in an almost fearful voice. "Is it really over?" He asked in a general way not expecting to get an answer. Savannah looked over her shoulder towards the doorway that was located behind her. The one that just minutes before John Henry and Cameron had gone through. A sudden rush of sorrow pulling itself over her as she did this.

"Yes…" She finally responded in an blank tone, obviously still trying to conceal her emotions. "He did it…Just like he always said he would." Savannah's voice cracked slightly when she spoke. Matthew looked over at Savannah noticing the heartbreak in her tone.

"Is he coming back?" Spears asked. Savannah hesitated, taking a breath of air before answering.

"No…" She replied sadly, "He's not."

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*10

John continued to look around at the bodies of the T-888's which lay before him. The cheers and voices of soldiers outside of the Kraken were beginning to drift into earshot. John remained over the body of the T-888 which still lay before him, staring down at it, into its black, lifeless eyes. He then slowly moved his head and eyes towards the back of the Kraken hanger bay, and to the bulkhead door which Cameron had gone through. He fixated his gaze on the door for a moment. The cheers of his men were now growing louder as they began to make their way closer to the Kraken that John was located inside of. Still, John remained frozen, almost in a daze as he stared at that one particular door. The full force of all of his emotions now began to crash down onto him. They seemed to stretch the complete range of every possible emotional state imaginable. While before the battle had ended, John had been able to push some of these particular feelings to the side, he was now no longer able to do so. Tears began to fill his eyes once again and John found himself biting down hard onto his lip, and clenching his fists in a vain attempt to try and keep his emotions in check; but knowing all the while that he would soon no longer be able to so. While John and the resistance had won a great victory, he continued to feel as if he had lost everything he held dear. A tear then rolled down John's cheek.

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Authors Notes: Okay so I really hope everyone enjoyed reading this chapter. I know it was a long one and emotionally draining; but it had to be done. Before anyone asks, this is not the last chapter. Two more still remain. I really hope everyone enjoyed this. REVIEW!!! REVIEW!!!


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