Progenitor 0 - Prologue

Red Valley, Arizona – 1999:
The two of them were lying prone on a bluff 300 meters away from Crest View High School. They were an odd pair. A young teenager from the future, not quite a man yet and his young female companion, a girl not quite human. She let out a small sigh of relief as she set up the sniper rifle. They had finally found him. A soft smile crept across her face as she watched him through the MZR-59 sniper scope.

Her lips parted and she let a single word escape, “John”

He was exposing himself by going to a public school like this. From her vantage point, she could see 4 sniper positions with a clear line of sight as he walked into the classroom. She wondered how he managed to survive so long. John was so naïve, so young so innocent. Nothing like the hardened war General she knew in the future.

“Wind, 5 kph West-South-West” said Daniel in a hushed tone.

“Yes, I know” she mouthed back at him.

Her sensors told her the wind was actually 6.3 KPH. Danny was just following standard military procedure of course. Normally snipers worked in two-man teams, but Cyborgs had no such need for help. Still, she had a certain fondness for him. He was like a brother to her. Not really of course. She was a machine programmed to terminate humans, built in a Skynet factory. Not born of a mother, but forged out of a coltan alloy. She would never have a brother, mother or father. Still, she could remember his first birthday. How they used to play together before the bombs fell. These were not really her memories of course, but they felt just so real. Not vague recollections, but distinct human memories with all the feelings and emotions. If she had never been caught in that explosion, she might have never known what she was. The evil that lay waiting inside her. Her programming could have remained dormant and she and John could have lived together for years without ever being discovered.

“Foolish girl” she thought to herself as her thoughts trailed off. They had been searching for John Connor for 73 days together. There was a good chance that the T-900 was still tracking them. Now was not the time to get reminiscent. Not when everything they had worked for was so close that she could almost touch it. This time-line would be different. She could break this endless cycle of time travel. She could change history once and forever and make things right.

Danny sighed as he gazed through the binoculars. They hadn't seen the enemy terminator for months now. If it had been tracking us all this time, wouldn't it have made a move by now? They were skilled at avoiding detection. In the future, they had spent all their time not being seen. It was the only way to survive in the final days of the war, when everything went so wrong. When all hope of victory was lost and all they could do was run.

“Allison,” he whispered. But she gave no response, focused intently on scanning the horizon. She was convinced that the T-900 had let them go because they were going to lead it right to John. She couldn't be the death of him, not again.

“Allison Young” he said more strongly this time.

She froze. In all their years working as a team together she never heard him say that name.

“Don't call me that. I was never her. That was.....someone else”

Her voice broke off. She felt a surge of tears welling up. Allison had learned to suppress the human feelings Skynet gave her. “Emotions make you hesitate, second guess. If you want to beat the machines, first you must become one,” General Connor had lectured them. This time it was all too much too quickly for her to compensate. All of those years alone. Rejected by everyone she thought she cared about. Rejected by the humans, cursed to live as an outcast. Tears began to fill her eyes as she was overcome by the painful thoughts. For Allison it had been two years since she last saw him. Two long years since John had swore never speak to her again.

“John would never see me, I'm just a machine, an impostor. I was never anything more to him than a weapon, a terminator.”

Danny struggled to find the words to say to reassure her; to tell Allison how she was so much more than that. But nothing came out and he looked down at the ground sadly. In the future, he was the only one that ever truly accepted her as more than a machine. Danny was her only true friend.

Allison resumed her scans of the horizon.

“Keep your eyes open, the T-900 could still be watching us.”

Danny snorted at this idea.

“Not this again, ally”, he chided her, “we both saw that shot you took with the 50 cal. Your aim was perfect, he never saw it coming. Boom! right to the fusion reactor. He was literally gushing plasma out his gut. Theres no way he could have survived that. Those things aren't very stable, you know. He would have no choice to deactivate or risk taking out a couple city blocks when he blew up.”

“Exactly, I never heard any explosion. This T-900 was a highly advanced intelligence unit. It's neural net was flexible, capable of creative thinking. If there was a way to survive, he would have found it.”

Danny looked back towards, the school building, not wanting to have this conversation again. It was always T-900 this or T-900 that. If Ally loved the T-900 that much she should just forget this stupid war and marry the damn machine.

Unaffected by the power of Daniel's eye-rolling, Allison continued, “The T-900 knows that I was closer to John than anyone else in the future and probably thinks I have detailed knowledge of John Connor's history. Therefore, it would calculate that it's most efficient to let us lead the way instead of trying to find John himself, given the lack of useful intelligence and the ever changing nature of the time-line.”

Danny smirked back at her, “So you perfect robot logic tells us that not only did the T-900 survive, he has been following us since we got here. He's so good at not being seen, that we never saw him once. And now you're going to play right into his fool-proof sit-on-my-metal-ass-for-three-months and then let you lead him right to John Connor strategy. Can't argue with that. Great plan”

“It's a risk, I have to take. That's why I need you to watch me with the sniper rifle”

Allison returned her gaze to the concrete walkway outside the building. John was not out of sight, he must have gone inside. The first bell rung, to mark the start of the school-day. It was time.

“I'm going in. If you see anything, don't shoot. Contact me on the wireless”

“Whatever you say, sir”

Allison gave him a small smile.

“I most likely will never see you again and even If I do, things will be different between us. I need to move forward and to do that I will have to leave my past behind.”
Daniel's face formed into a small frown of confusion.

“What do you mean?”

“Please don't be mad at me. I'm sorry about what I did...about Allison. I'm....sorry about everything.”
Finally, as tears started to well up in her eyes, she kissed him on the cheek.

“Goodbye Danny”

Without another word Allison turned and started down the hill towards the school.

On a boulevard in downtown Los Angeles, a crowd of people walked down the side of the street. The were all oblivious to the man walking at a rapid clip between them. He was well dressed, like a business-man, but carried no briefcase or anything else for that matter. His head moved from side to side, looking intently, scanning every face that walked by him.

>>> Facial recognition: 16%
>>> Facial recognition: 8%
>>> Facial recognition: 11%

For the last 279 days, Cromartie had been searching for John Connor. He had scanned over 389,128 faces in the Los Angeles metro area looking for a potential match. His lack of success didn't bother him. He was a machine and could continue this exercise indefinitely, or until his power cell ran out.

>>> Remote signal detected on 12.71828 GHZ band.
>>> 8192 bit private key authenticated. Identification T-900 Serial Number: T9001965
>>> Remote access granted.
>>> New Mission Directive: Proceed directly to Crest View High School ( 35°51′19″N 111°25′17″W ) - Terminate John Connor.