In Memory Of A Machine


In Memory Of A Machine

Los Angeles, California
A hotel room in an empty wing
Saturday, January 12, 2008

"That best portion of a good man's life, his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love." -William Wordsworth

"If you forgive people enough you belong to them, and they to you, whether either person likes it or not - squatter's rights of the heart." -James Hilton

Sarah Connor couldn't sleep. She sat before a computer, transfixed and obsessed.

There was no peace. Just visual records and sounds of the demons another faced, followed by hour after hour of no answer.

Cameron's sleeping chip failed to give Sarah the answer she needed. Cameron's body was another friendly corpse that would never answer again.

Her son had hooked up the chip. As Sarah had instructed, John had done so in such a way that Cameron would never be awake or aware.

Sarah had no wish to leave Cameron helpless like a quadriplegic. To Sarah, it was better to just let the machine sleep in peace.

John had done so after Sarah had already made it clear to both John and Derek that they would be burning Cameron's body soon and it wasn't up for debate. They would not repeat the same mistake they had made with Cromartie.

Days had passed since then. Perhaps, weeks had.

Sarah sat searching and for a single answer that burned her mind and soul. She tried to ignore the other questions as they brightly flashed before her conscious as blindingly as little suns.

Page after page unlocked a world Sarah never knew. She had watched a son she had never bore. She had watched this man mourn: her, his wife, and his own children. All while he stoically trying to run a war and a dying patchwork alliance.

She watched faces that had yet to be born, die for the case she had devoted her life too. She watched a world burnt out of hope and most life.

Through Cameron's chip, she finally knew the devil behind it all. She had a sense of the beast to come. The knowledge of how it thought, how it acted, and how it bragged overconfident in its ability.

Sarah had known Skynet. The thing created by Cyberdyne. The company whose evil little executive yuppies eventually had her locked in an insane asylum.

Sarah had known Skynet. The thing that Miles Dyson had died to stop himself from creating. Miles Dyson becoming a hero even after Sarah herself had tried to kill him.

Sarah had known Skynet. The thing that a machine had asked her to lower it into a vat of molten steel to stop from existing. Something she still hadn't fully come to terms with.

Now, Sarah knew it as something more. It wasn't just the creator of Judgment Day and the things that hunted men.

Skynet was an alien Artificial Intelligence, but it was also humanized. It was something sadistic. It was no less mad than Hitler and it was something far more powerful.

In the future to come, the more noble members of humanity fought it. The insane joined it, then worshiped it. Cameron had feared it.

Skynet's hand had taken the man Sarah had loved most from her. Skynet's hand had killed her mother. Skynet's hand had bragged about slaughtering the son she had born, again and again.

There was the slightest noise. The thoughts slipped away, Sarah's instincts engaged.

The door clicked. Her 9mm was trained, before it ever opened.

Derek stood at the door, walked in, and quickly closed it behind himself. He simply said, "I didn't want to let all the hot air out."

Sarah growled, "You could have knocked." She placed the gun back within easy reach.

Derek quipped, "It's generally considered bad form to do so, when you are picking the lock."

"I didn't invite you in."

"Are we pretending that was ever going to happen?" Derek sat on the floor with his back to the door. "Are you ok?"

"I'm fine." Her jaw was tense and her eyes were unyielding.

"Our room is 10 feet from yours. We haven't seen you for a week, Sarah. Even in 2027, that's normally not considered fine."

Sarah simply glared. She was in no mood for this.

Derek added, "In here, it's hard to tell from the smell if I'm dealing with one corpse or two. Either we need to burn that body or you need to bathe. One or the other." He smiled.

"You aren't very good at talking to women are you Derek?" Her eyes were like daggers.

Derek retorted, "I'm equally an ******* talking to anyone." Still seated, he moved for his coat. As if producing a rabbit from his hat, Derek Reese's jacket produced a bottle of dark rum.

Sarah smiled at that one, her misery stockpile had run empty a bit ago. She asked, "How did you know I was out?"

"Like I said, you've been in here for a week and the News Years bottles can only last so long." Derek got up and handed Sarah the bottle. His coat then, with much flair produced two cheap plastic cups. He went hunting for the second chair.

"What's up with the moves?" Sarah was lightly amused.

Derek confessed, "I was practicing for Louis Rhone. I figured since he was such a woman hating, stage *****, I'd give some flair when I thermite his ass to death." Derek's eyebrows were cocked as he answered.

Sarah laughed. Derek planted a chair, purposely forcing Sarah to look away from the screen if she was going to look at him. He poured the rum.

He waited for Sarah to drink and swallow. He then added in, "John has something he needs to talk to you about."

"What would that be?"

"His buddy Riley was a Gray or a Gray conspirator."

Sarah looked at Derek. She asked, "you have proof?"

"The absolutely damning kind."

"We'll have to take care of it."

"It's already done." Derek said seriously.

"It'll be a while before John forgives you then." Sarah looked at Derek with pity.

"It was John that took care of it." Derek's face was unreadable.

Sarah sat for a moment unable to speak. She stared at her cup and silently mourned for her son's heart.

Derek said, "He's going to need you soon. I just wanted you to be prepared for what he's going to need to say."

A tear rolled down Sarah's cheek, she shook her head to say yes. She refilled her glass.

Neither spoke for about ten minutes. Both sat and drank in their respective worlds.

Sarah broke the silence saying, "You said once he was acting more like John Baum than John Connor."

Derek solidly confirmed, "Yes."

Sarah asked, "How long will it take you to get him ready? To actually make him a soldier, like the John Connor you knew."

"I could have him up to speed in 6 months to a year tops."

"I want you to do that. If we can't stop Skynet here, he has to be ready. Is there anything else you see as a weakness?"

Derek spoke seriously, "John has to step forward. As much as he loves you and as much as you want to protect him, it coming time for him to learn how to lead."

Derek continued, "He's cut his learning time by moving forward. He has to be better prepared and now he has to do it with less time."

Sarah looked at Derek. She simply said, "Make it happen."

Derek looked at the chip. Sarah glared at him.

Derek defensively said, "I gave my word."

"You gave it when she was gone Derek." Her eyes were murderous.

"We could just put her chip in another body later."

"It wouldn't be her."

Derek rolled his eyes and responded, "For a machine, the body is just a housing, Sarah. You know what you just said is ********." Derek was pissed to even bring that up.

Sarah replied, "Cameron's body was unique. She could do things no other machine could. It would be like coming back without your eyes. Would you really want that Derek?"

Unusually sober, Derek simply said, "No." He also continued, "So we leave her as a chip then."

"There is another option."

Derek quickly responded, "I gave my word we'd use the chip, so no."

Sarah returned, "First, that's not what I said. Second, what makes you think you get a vote?"

Derek simply said, "Right now, I'm the CO for 132nd Tech-Com. Cameron's body and her chip are part of that group and my responsibility."

Sarah glared. She liked the new Derek less and less.

Derek quipped, "You can shoot me and explained to John why you killed his Uncle."

Sarah glared accusingly, "John told you?" She was going to throttle her son for letting that secret out.

Derek simply shook his head and said, "No, I sat with Kyle night after night as he looked at your picture. John has his build at that age, a certain rare blood type, and his father's heart."

Derek continued, "We lost that picture in the fire by the way. John has been mumbling something about the timeline having been changed completely."

Sarah sat in silence. She ignored the timeline comment, it wasn't the burning question on her mind and then asked, "What was Kyle like?"

Derek smiled and responded, "Kyle was an idealist. He was brave to a fault and utterly reckless with his life. It was my driving goal for years to keep him alive." He became lost in thoughts of his brother.

Sarah looked at her glass. She was also lost in memories and ironies. Some of them were too unjustly short.

Derek offered, "We should have a long conversation about him one day. You know, on a day that you have actually bathed." He smiled a wolfish grin.

Sarah simply said, "*******." She was smiling though.

Derek asked, "So what's the stupid thing you changed the subject on?"

Sarah said, "I know where there is a triple eight. It's spare parts for Cameron."

Derek offered, "Sounds too easy so far. What's the catch?" He was lying of course, no one always won a fight. Every combat entered risked losing someone.

Sarah said, "He's locked behind a nuclear bunker."

Derek offered, "So now it sounds like something a Connor cooked up. I think I can pick a lock with the right tools."

"Who says you are going?"

"You don't know how to open these things and I do. Besides, Reeses don't leave family behind."

Sarah looked at Cameron's chip for a moment. She looked Derek dead in the eye and replied, "Neither do Connors."

Sarah also added, "We'll need weapons to take this thing down cleanly. We need as much of it up for scrap as possible."

Sarah continued, "I'd also like to see John plan it, like you said he has too step up. Small groups are a good place to start."

Derek smiled and said, "Looks like we have an organ donor then."

Sarah got up to shower and get ready for war. Derek left to prepare the future leader of mankind for battle.

The water was hot. Sarah felt cold.

Sarah remembered the male terminator face that: had killed her mother, had killed Kyle Reese, and had tried to kill her. Maybe she could have dealt with this easier if John had just chosen another model to send back in time, as his protector.

She was lying to herself. She knew it. This was a peace she had yet to achieve.

She cried like Cameron had in her arms, just a few nights ago. Cameron wasn't the machine she was thinking of though.

The thought in her mind was that male terminator face, worn by another that her son had nicknamed Uncle Bob, that she was lowering into the steel. Even today, it was the press of that button that she could still feel on her fingers.

That **** machine that broke her son's heart. That ****, stupid machine that blindly tried to save her, John, and the human race in a useless fiery death...

What It Means To Be a Connor by Schmacky

cameron wall

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