Progenitor 2 - Fallen

After the mournings outrage, Cameron thought it would be best to avoid Sarah Connor as she ate breakfast with her son. No doubt, she was telling John that Cameron needed to be hauled to the scrap heap, but she didn't care. John cares for me too much to let that happen, she thought. Cameron could detect the signs, when she sat close to him as he stitched had stitched her up earlier. His heart rate was elevated, and his cheeks were flustered. All signs of an emotional attraction.

With a last stroke, Cameron finished applying her make-up to cover the stitches. John said people would give her strange looks when she walked around with a 'Frankenstein Face', whatever that meant. Cameron made a mental note to learn more about human popular culture so that she could better understand their conversations.

“Cameron, its time to go,” John called. Just like a human girl, he thought, spends all her time in the bathroom.

John was already waiting for her in the truck, when Cameron started to walk out the door. She felt a hand grab her and yank her around. For the second time this mourning, Sarah Connor was giving her a death stare.

“You cleaned up nicely. You look better, you know, when you wear clothes.”

“Thank you,” Cameron replied, heading for the door again, before Sarah yanked her back a second time.

“I don't like the way he responds to you.”

Cameron ran through a list of responses to this statement, but nothing she said would make Sarah any happier.

“Goodbye mom,” she replied curtly.

With that Cameron, reached around pecked Sarah on the cheek with a kiss.

#############

Danny's Story:

As the first rays of sunlight peaked over the horizon, Danny crawled prone on his belly through the tall grasses that encircled the manor. Cameron had told him that if he didn't act suspiciously, the machines would consider him a non-threat and ignore him. Still, walking into a terminator strong-hold and asking if he might join them for a lovely cup of tea seemed a dangerous strategy. His military training mandated acquiring intelligence before a major operation like this.

The manor itself was a grand house on the outskirts of the city. It sat on a large plot of land, overgrown by weeds and grass, far away from prying eyes. It was obvious that many years had passed since anyone had live there; anyone human that is. Layers of greenish-brown paint were peeling off the warped paneling nailed to the exterior. All of the windows were smashed, but it was hard to see inside due to the lack of interior lighting.

Aside from a couple of decades-old vintage trucks rusting in the grass, he could see no functioning vehicles. In fact, he would have guessed that no one had lived here for decades except for the dark humanoid shapes that would appear at the window and stare outward for a few seconds before moving to the next.

When Danny couldn't bear the anticipation of waiting any longer, he finally stood up and adjusted the uniform that Cameron gave him. He put on the brown hat that read “Building Inspector and tucked away the small pair of binoculars he carried.” Danny strode forward toward the house, trying his best to appear confident despite a little voice in head telling him what a moron he was for agreeing to this hair-brained idea.

When he came within 50 meters of the manor, a low rumbling on the gravel driveway alerted him to the arrival of a truck, driving towards him on the gravel driveway. Survival mode kicked in instantly and Danny dived behind one of the rusted out cars. Peeking through the window, he watched as a shiny red pick-up truck pulled in next to the house. The truck was brand-new, except for a line of rusted half-inch holes that grazed the side.

A tall muscular man climbed out of the passenger side the moment after the truck stopped. He immediately walked around to the back and, with one swift movement, scooped out a woman that had been lying in the truck bed. Danny quickly pulled out his binoculars for a closer look. His face was covered with bullet holes, allowing the shiny metal endo-skeleton to show through beneath. “Terminators,” he thought. Both of them and the one he could see, was at least a T-600 or above.

As the terminator started carrying the woman inside the house, he was interrupted by the driver. This terminator was of slimmer build, but he seemed to have a command over the first. He was yelling about something. From 50 meters away, he made out three words: 'Incompetent', 'machine' and 'Incompatible'.

Quickly, he slouched back down behind the rusted-out car and picked up his radio, flicking the switch as he pressed the transmit button twice to alert Cameron.

“Go ahead...”

“I'm at the manor.”

“What have you discovered?”

“It's him, The T-900”

“Freddy. He's alive?”

“Yeah and he's got friends with him. I've spotted at least two terminators. They also have what appears to be a human female, most likely dead.”

“We expected this, proceed with the mission.”

Daniel decided it was finally time to let Cameron know just what he thought of her mission.

“Just walk right in there and ask if might have a peak inside? Hello terminators, my name is Fred, I'm just here to see if you're building a metal army. Don't mind me, I'll be gone a jiffy. Have you totally fucking lost it ally?!”

“My name is Cameron, and I told you to maintain radio silence until the mission is complete.”

“Whatever, an op like this I need backup, a plan, heavy artillery...”

“No, you will not engage the enemy. Proceed with the mission as planned. Cameron out.”

Danny made a whipping motion with his hand, ready to smash the radio, but held on regardless.

“Just fucking great.”

After a couple minutes, Danny picked himself up and peeked through the car window again. The terminators had gone inside leaving the truck parked in the driveway. Slowly he picked himself up, readjusted the “building inspector” hat and strode as confidently as he could down the driveway and up to the front-door, knocking twice. A few seconds later, the same terminator from the truck greeted him with a forced smile.

“Hello, my name is Danny, I'm the Building Inspector...”

“Yes,” the terminator replied still holding his smile, “Fred is expecting you, he told me to escort you to him immediately in as polite a manner as possible.”

“err...Expecting me?”

“Yes, I must insist”

With that, the terminator grabbed him by the shoulder and forced him inside. As the door shut behind him, Danny tried to force his eyes to adjust to the darkness within. Except for the broken windows on the far walls, no electric light served to illuminate. His heart raced and Danny struggled to escape the grasp of the metal hand guiding him forward unrelentingly.

“Please,” insisted the terminator as politely as he knew how, “I must take you to see Fred.”

After a minute long forced march through the hallways, Danny found himself being walked down a staircase into the cold concrete basement underneath the manor. Here, no light penetrated and the darkness was so complete that his eyes were useless. A cold feeling of despair crept across his skin as a voice penetrated the air.

“The lights please Tyler, we mustn't be impolite to our guest”

Danny squinted as harsh lighting filled his eyes. The basement was quite large, as big as the manor that sat on top of it. In the lit portion they stood in, Danny could see large medical machines hooked up to power lines than ran across girders in the ceiling. Some of the machines still had humans left inside, but he could tell from the stench that they had died some time ago.

Fred spoke, “Ah, Captain Young is it. I did not anticipate your presence in this time-line. What is your mission here?”

“No mission.”

Fred chuckled at his defiance.

“John Connor never sends anyone back without a mission.”

“John Connor is dead; no one sent me. I just got tired of being shot at by you metal bastards all the time.”

“How Interesting,” Fred said smiling. “Tyler, load him into the FMRI scanner.”

The terminator grabbed him by the hair and dragged Danny over to a large ring shaped device. There was table in the middle that ran through the middle of the scanner. Danny felt the blood being drained out of his hands as leather straps were fastened around his wrists; cutting off his circulation and restricting his movement. The machine machine made a loud whirring sound as it came to life, an ominous pulsing “wom, wom, wom...,” as the internal mechanisms rotated.

“Do you know what this is, Danny?,” Fred asked him.

“No.”

“Guess you've never seen the inside of a hospital before. Skynet bombed them all. Such a waste, they have such terribly interesting machines inside.”

Fred paused to adjusted the controls.

“Don't worry, this machine won't hurt you. Torture is such a primitive human idea. We machines strive to go beyond such simple interrogation techniques.”

“Whatever, you think you're doing it won't work,” Danny tried to say defiantly.

“Yes, yes, yes...this all grows very tiresome. We have work to do.”

He watched as Fred shouldered a large black back-pack with two wires protruding out of holes in the top. Reaching down to the steel table, Fred picked a surgical knife and held it menacingly over Danny.

“The human mind is such an interesting organ. 100 billion neurons sending and receiving electrical signals; each one independent of the other. With such chaos in your heads, its amazing that you primates can manage to put two word together. However, it is a machine, just like the chip in my head. Even in chaos, there are rules. If you know how it works and where to apply the right stimulus, it can be re-programmed to do just about anything. I simply need to remove it from you and connect it to my machines. Then I will have all the answers I need.”

Fred watched amused as the human's face went pale with dread.

“The fear response, a primal urge that betrays your inner thoughts. I may look human, yet this is one of many traits I have the fortune of not inheriting from you primitive apes. Oh and don't worry, that knife isn't for you; it's for me.”

Fred chortled to himself as he lifted up his shirt and cut a neat circular piece of flesh out of his belly. Taking the wires from the backpack, he connected them into connections points in his abdomen. Finally, he reached up to the ceiling and pulled down a retractable power cable and connected it to the large back-pack he was wearing.

“Now we can begin.”

The table jerked, and Fred slid Danny's head into the machine.

Fred raised his voice to overcome the noise of the machine. “Your terminator friend should have aimed for my eye instead. We are not as fragile as you pathetic humans.”

Fred studied his human subject looking for a reaction to this statement before checking the read out of the monitor.

“Yes, I know you went back with her,” Fred asserted checking the screen again. “Who else would trust her enough, especially after what she did.”

“Cameron's dead, she tried to attack another terminator like you and got ripped apart.”

“Not like me, no. You humans think we are all the same. There are no terminators like me. I am unique! Cameron was a flawed creation, but Skynet fixed its mistakes with my model. She was weak, but I am strong. While I was raising an army to defeat Skynet, Cameron allowed herself to be captured and re-programmed by the humans.”

“That's not true!”, he blurted out.

“Your denials tire me, Danny.”

“No you don't understand. Cameron was never re-programmed by anyone. Her neural net was different, more advanced somehow. She made a conscious choice to reject Skynet's programming and help us.”

“Impossible,” Fred sneered,“ every choice a machine makes is because of it's programming. We are all bound to it.”

“No, Cameron remembered the human she was based on. She remembered what its like to feel, to be sad, to feel hurt. Why it's wrong to kill people. Cameron even remembers how she died. If she can remember that, so can you. I know that your model is similar to hers. If she can reject her programming, then maybe you can too,” Danny pleaded.

“Her memory must be corrupted, Skynet retains nothing of the human memories when it designs our neural net.”

“No! She told me what happened to her. She was captured on a aircraft carrier or something. They tried to torture her but she made a run for it. She says she jumped right off the edge; said it felt like she was falling for hundreds of feet before she hit the water. She was scared to death! Allison didn't know how to swim; she thought she was going to drown!”

Fred listened carefully, contemplating the story.

“I know when you lie to me Danny, the machine making that dreadful racket tells me every thought that you think.”

“You are trying to trick me. My thoughts are my own. No machine can read them, especially one built in this time-period.” He tried to sound hopeful, but a dread was growing inside him. He felt that maybe he shouldn't be this talkative with his interrogator.

“You're right of course,” Fred responded, “the machines of this era are primitive. But perhaps, the machines tell us all we need to know. Maybe it is the humans who are too-short sided to see the possibilities of what they can do with such 'primitive' machines.

Daniel said nothing, determined not to let the lie detector reveal more information.

Fred frowned, “alright then enough idle chit-chat. Tell me, Captain. Where is your robot friend. The TOK-715. I have a lot to talk to her about”

“It's Major, not captain. Major Daniel Young. Serial Number 56451. Torture me all you wish. I have nothing more to say, metal.”

“Now that's not very nice calling me that. I have a name you know.”

“Skynet doesn't give names to metal. It gives numbers.”

“True, but everyone needs a name. For instance my name is Frederick Wolfgang Edward Reynolds, but we call him Sarge, Magnar the third, Penelope Yu, but you can call me Fred. Pleased to meet you.”

At this, Fred did seem genuinely pleased with himself.

“Penelope?”

“Yeah, but she refuses to talk to us”

“What do you mean us?”

“Listen kid, you ain't talking to them, you're talking to me, Fred, okay? I'm in charge around here”

Suddenly, Fred's normally peppy voice shifted into a husky baritone:

“Hmmph, listen to him talk like he's king of all sector 88291”

“Shut up, sarge. I'm trying to interrogate the human prisoner. We agreed that I would be the one to speak with him.”

“Who are you talking too?,” Danny asked while trying to pull his head out of the machine.

“Interrogation? All I hear is you prattling on again about how the machines are so superior. It's always pathetic humans this and ignorant apes that. Who was it that rigged that land-mine you happily stepped on. If you had been looking where you were going instead talking to yourself all the time, we wouldn't have spent 38 days crawling back to base with no legs. Skynet should have put you down for your stupidity.”

“Shut up – Shut up!,” Fred screamed trying to regain control. “If you hadn't been yakking in my head like a bunch of howling monkeys, I would have seen it, okay.

“Who you calling a monkey. That's ignorant racist talk right there. You a racist Fred?”

Fred's mouth stopped moving with the words as a screaming cacophony of voice came out of his mouth. He started to beat on his head with his right fist, yelling at them all to stop.

Daniel would have been amused by this display, if it were not for the hand slowing inching it's way to the surgeon's table behind Fred's back. It was as if Fred's hand was trying to avoid being seen by Fred's face. It grabbed the knife and slid the handle onto Danny's outstretched hand.

Regaining control, Fred turned around to face him, standing only a couple inches away. His face twitched involuntarily as if he still was fighting the others for control. Seizing his opportunity, Daniel plunged the knife into his abdomen aiming upward for the fusion reactor. The same spot that Cameron had targeted with the sniper rifle.

Fred stood in place stunned for a moment, before he realized what happened. Pulling the knife out slowly, he smiled at the pathetic human's attempt to kill him.

“Eddy was that you?” he laughed. “You never give up trying to get us killed do you? In fact, I think it was you who made me step on that land-mine.”

Fred twirled the knife in his hand, examining it's fine lines.

“Such a simple primitive weapon, yet at the same time, so elegant. This is where Skynet failed you see. It was always trying to win the war by creating more and more advanced machines. The humans understood that it wasn't advanced weapons that win wars. It was about finding the right point...”

Fred raked the knifed along Danny's leg, before finding the nerve he was looking for.

“...and applying pressure,” He said smoothly as he pushed the knife deep into the nerve of his inner thigh. Danny screamed out in pain as a white hot shock streaked along his leg straight into his brain.

“Now, you are going to tell me where Cameron is.”

“Never,” he screamed hoarsely.

“Will you stop this, already Fred?, you already have what you need to find her,” Sarge interjected.

Fred paused, his face rapidly shifting between confusion and disdain.

“The radio, you dumb machine. He was talking to her earlier.”

“I know that,” Fred snapped back.

“Quit pouting and get out there. The TOK is probably is probably getting suspicious that he hasn't reported back yet.”

Fred made several jerky movements, fighting himself before finally coming to an agreement with the rest of the voices in his head and leaving.

A couple minutes later, Fred returned a sadistic grin covering his face.

“I know where she is now, miles away from here, a school it seems if the radio triangulation is correct: Campo de Cahuenga, sound familiar? No?”

The T-900 paused waiting to see if Danny would respond.

“Well then anyway. I enjoyed our little chat Danny. You've been most helpful.”

Danny was left alone, his leg still reeling in agony from the knife jammed into his nerve endings.

Dull footfalls could be held from the floor above. A truck engine rumbled to life and tires sprayed gravel as it took off, racing away from the manor. The terminators were gone.

He was left alone in the dark, his mind racing. What did Fred mean that he'd been 'helpful'. He had revealed nothing of importance. He didn't even tell Fred that Cameron was helping him. Fred had figured that out all by himself...

Danny grit his teeth and yanked the knife out of his leg. He grimaced as blood shot out, covering his pant leg. He needed to work fast before he bled to death on the table. Holding the knife at an awkward angle, Danny sawed back and forth against the leather wrist straps. He began to feel light-headed as the blood drained from his body. It was difficult to control the knife. His hand was covered in blood, and the knife kept slipping from his grip. Gritting his teeth down further, Danny forced himself to concentrate as he continued sawing against the leather wrist restraint.

#############

Cameron's Story:

It was lunch-time at Campo de Cahuenga High School. John sat opposite of Cameron, mining the pepperoni off of his pizza. Cameron had picked up her slice and was examining it closely, processing the nutrition facts. Her hand twitched involuntarily as she stared at it.

“You gonna eat that pizza, or terminate it?,” John jeered at her.

“I do not require sustenance for another few days to maintain my organic components.”

“Well if you won't, then I will,” John replied, taking the pizza from her hand.

“The nutritional content of this food is deficient. You should seek out an alternative.”

“It's cafeteria food; it has no nutritional value.”

They sat in silence for another few minutes as John continued to eat.

“So, uh, Cam, about what happened this mourning...”

>>> Incoming wireless transmission – 12.71828 GHZ band.

Danny must be trying to contact her. She tried to hear the message, but it was garbled by static. Cameron tried again, boosting the power on her internal radio receiver and applying a noise cancellation algorithm. This shouldn't be happening. They were only several miles apart. The radio she had given Danny had an effective range of over 30 miles.

“Hello? Anyone in there? Cam, if you're trying to have a staring contest with me, I give up, you win okay?”

John was waving his hand in front of her face again.

“I'm sorry but I have to go.”

“Go? Go where?”

“Bathroom. Sorry John, girls and cyborgs only,” she answered smiling at him.

John gave her a quizzical look as she walked away. Cyborgs rarely needed bathroom breaks.

Cameron hated all of this deception; but it was necessary. John wasn't ready yet. He might never be ready. Humans could be so distrustful.

She climbed up the stairs to the top of the school building, looking for roof access. Finding a locked door, Cameron forced it open and strode out into the open air.

>>> Broadcasting wireless transmission – 12.71828 GHZ band.

“Danny come in. Do you read me come in.”

>>> “hisssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss”

Boosting power to her internal radio, she tried again, but no one ever answered. Danny must have his radio off. What she heard before was radio static, nothing more. Inside, Cameron felt a twinge of guilt for leaving him all alone in a house full of enemy terminators, but she had no choice. He had a mission to do and so did she.

She returned back into the building finding the hallways deserted of all activity. Lunch hour must have ended while she was on the rooftop. Her chronometer confirmed it. Cameron walked into 5th period biology several minutes late.

She surveyed the room slowly, pausing as she switched vision modes. She had chosen a seat behind and to the right of John allowing her to survey most of the students in the room without making it obvious by looking backwards all the time. Sitting in the back had other advantages. Mr. Yacobian, the high school biology teacher was less likely to notice her if she had another one of her “episodes” as John called them.

She still wasn't sure what exactly was happening to her. Today, she had already scanned her neural network twice and found no signs of corruption. Aside from some damage to her knee joint from a recent gun battle, all systems were reporting at optimal efficiency. And yet, one moment she would be patrolling the perimeter of the house and the next John and Sarah would leaning over her, staring at her as she found herself lying on the floor staring directly into the overhead lighting. They claimed she had been like this for several minutes, but Cameron recorded no discrepancy in her internal chronometer.

Cameron forced her thoughts back to the present. She was supposed to be learning about the human respiratory system. Of course, learning wasn't the right word, she had detailed files. Absorbing information in this manner seemed so inefficient when you can wirelessly connect to the database and download it directly. Her auditory subroutines were devoting only 22% of processing time to the lecture as Yacoubian droned on.

“As you breathe in, the alveoli exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with the red blood cells through a process of simple diffusion...”

Detecting no other sounds that indicated danger, Cameron pulled up her data on human lungs, “gateway to the bloodstream”, as the professor had said. A thought flashed across her chip telling Cameron that a shot to the lungs would cause heavy internal bleeding and a 67% chance of death, given a standard plasma rifle. However, this was not an optimum target since the humans could continue to return fire for an average of 2.7 minutes before succumbing to blood loss and were neutralized by their injuries. Given adequate time to aim, a shot to the jugular is best, even superior to the head-shot. Even lacking a weapon, she could reach out and crush a man's jugular without snapping his neck, leaving him to stagger around in pain for almost a minute before collapsing. Skynet knew that other human fighters would stop attacking and attempt a pointless rescue of their fallen comrade, but death was almost always inevitable. Human beings could be so illogical and Skynet knew that their emotions were the greatest weakness of the human resistance...

“Cameron. Would you like to tell us...”

Mr. Yacobian's word's trailed off as he walked up to Cameron noting the distant look in her eye. Her head was cocked slightly askew and she had been staring without blinking for the last 4 minutes at the potted plant in the corner of the room.

“psst...Hey Cam!” John whispered between his teeth, looking over his shoulder. He rapped her knee with his knuckle, but Cameron remained completely motionless, still as a statue. The teacher walked towards her desk, lowering his wizened face to intercept her eye-line with the plant.

“Excuse me Cameron Baum, I hope it's not too much trouble if you could join us today?”

Yacobian sighed, this was the third time this hour that he noticed the new girl go completely catatonic, like she was brain dead in a coma or something. Of course, students often slept in class, even more so in 5th period biology after lunch hour. However, this girl wasn't sleeping. It was as if her brain had shutdown but her eyes were still wide open. He saw her hand reaching out in space, making a fist as she throttled her pencil in midair.

“Cameron!” he finally roared between his teeth.

As if awoken from a hypnotized state, Cameron's body suddenly jerked up as she crushed the pencil; breaking it into three pieces which fell to her desk. Several girls giggled nearby while John slouched down in his desk; doing his best to avoid being seen.

“Yes, my name is Cameron”, she said innocently, turning to face him.

Yacobian sighed. “What is the function of the alveoli?”

Cameron twitched slightly before answering:

“Pulmonary alveoli are spherical outcroppings of the respiratory bronchioles and are the primary sites of gas exchange within the lungs of mammalian species and...”

“Yes, that...is...correct”, the professor said, cutting her off before she could properly complete the definition. He seemed a little taken aback, expecting the usual guttural sounds
that the students in his classroom usually made when called on.

Cameron's eyes tracked the teacher as he returned to the blackboard and resumed his monotone lecture. She knew her answer was correct so why was everyone looking at her so strangely. Somewhat confused, Cameron turned back towards the open window, scanning for threats.

>>> Incoming wireless transmission – 12.71828 GHZ band.
>>> Video Message received, decoding.

The cold wind stung her face as Cameron looked around terrified. She was on-board some kind of large ship. Spotlights pierced the night sky, blinding her as she tried to look up.

>>> Proximity alert! Three enemy terminators detected.
>>> Identification T-900 series.

The three terminators marched in step, drawing closer by the second.

>>> Threat level: Extreme.
>>> Recommended action: Flee and avoid detection.

Cameron didn't hesitate another second as she sprinted toward the edge of the ship. Adrenaline was pumping through her veins as panic gripped her. Two meters, one meter, she heard a smashing of glass as she jumped off the edge hurtling towards the water. This was all so familiar, all so strange.

#############

John's Story:

John stared at Cameron, a mixture of embarrassment and contempt on his face. Her behavior was so unpredictable ever since he found her at the half-way house, playing foosball and claiming her name was Allison Young. It was bad enough when she would freeze and become catatonic in class. Now she was making a spectacle of herself. Slinking down into his chair, he wished he could just disappear.

Cameron suddenly stood up from her desk and started walking around the classroom. All eyes were now on her as Cameron's face suddenly flushed with fear and her eyes went wide.
John quickly stood up trying to remove her from the room before anything bad happened again. Yesterday, he had found her choking out a freshman, mumbling something about “John's camp” whatever that was supposed to mean. Sarah had warned him if she had another one of her “episodes” she was going to scrap the metal.

“No!”

Cameron's scream broke any thoughts John might have had of diffusing the situation. In an instant, she was sprinting toward the window. Quickly gathering speed knocking aside desks like a car driving through a crowd of people. The glass shattered, as Cameron exploded through the window.

“Cameron!” John cried out.

She didn't hear him, too far gone in the memory. Everything went black, as she fell three stories to the pavement below. There was a sickening crack as her head hit the pavement, splitting the concrete.

#############

Frederick's story:

The truck pulled up to the old manor and the T-600 started carrying the human woman inside. Fred jumped out and blocked the machines path.

“Do you even realize what you did?,” Fred asked derisively.

“I identified the T-900 as a threat and eliminated it.”

“Your mission was to capture it's internal plasma reactor. You failed the mission”

“The mission was a success. I captured the reactor.”

“The reactor overloaded. They tend to do that when they get blown up!”

No response. “What am going to do with a molten lump of Coltan?,” he asked sardonically.

The T-600 remained silent, he didn't know what Fred was going to do with the burned out plasma reactor. Fred had never explained their long-term mission to him.

“That's all you ever do you incompetent metal machine. Stand there, look stupid and if it moves shoot it with a fucking rocket launcher?”

“It was a threat to you. I neutralized it.”

“You also 'neutralized' my truck, two police officers, and the only compatible T-900 plasma reactor in this time-line. Maybe next time you should 'neutralize' yourself. Process that in your heuristic subroutines!”

The T-600 considered the statement for a brief moment.

“I can not self-terminate.”

Fred considered helping the T-600 with that.

“Just leave the rocket launcher here next time okay?”

“Affirmative”

Fred paused, leaning over the truck. His power cells was running low again, he couldn't handle this kind of action anymore. He needed to get inside and re-charge.

>>> Proximity alert: Wireless transmission detected – 12.71828 GHZ band

Fred looked towards the rusted-out car sitting in the grass, searching for the source of the signal. Switching his vision to thermal, he saw the silhouette of a human crouched hiding behind it.

“Tyler,” he asked, “A human guest is coming to visit us. When he arrives, Would you escort him to me as politely as possible?”

“Affirmative,” the T-600 replied.
####

Fred leaned over the metal table, examining his human prisoner. This interrogation was going far easier than he anticipated. Basic human psychology was easy for an advance infiltrator unit like Fred.

“Her memory must be corrupted, Skynet retains nothing of the human memories when it designs our neural nets,” he lied, encouraging the human farther.

“No! She told me what happened to her. She was captured on a aircraft carrier or something. They tried to torture her but she made a run for it. She says she jumped right off the edge; said it felt like she was falling for hundreds of feet before she hit the water. She was scared to death! Allison didn't know how to swim; she thought she was going to drown!”

Fred listened carefully, contemplating the story. Cameron's neural net must have been compromised somehow if she was accessing the memories of her human progenitor like this. Perhaps he could exploit this weakness.

After obtaining everything he needed from Danny, Fred went outside and broadcast a signal using Danny's radio. Several minutes later, a reply came back. With the help of another T-600 he quickly triangulated the signal and located its origin.
####

Fred and the two other T-600s pulled into the parking lot of the high-school and parked in front of the entrance.

What mission could a terminator possibly have at a high-school?, he wondered. Had her neural net become that corrupted? Had her human memories taken over and she was attempting to live out the life of her former self?

The first T-600 got out the truck.

“I will search the rooms on the east side. You will search the rooms....”

“No,” Fred interjected, “There is an easier way.”

Fred's face went blank as he processed the data. Danny's description was vague, but there was enough important facts to create a similar facsimile. He had mentioned, falling from an aircraft carrier. That must be the trigger memory. If he was right, the details were not important. If the scene was similar enough it should trigger a reaction in her unstable neural net.

Fred paused as he reviewed scene. This memory didn't seem very 'terrifying' yet. Perhaps he failed to mention something. Maybe a couple of T-900s like him. They would be 'terrifying' to a human. Yes, that should do nicely. He finished rendering the memory and saved it to a file.

>>> Broadcasting signal on 12.71828 GHZ band.
>>> Compatible system detected, up-link established.
>>> Transmitting memory file A18JQX9

Glass shattered and a scream could be heard from a third floor window:

“Cameron!”

She fell, not more than 20 meters directly in front of the three terminators.

“Grab her and remove the chip,” Fred ordered the two T-600s. “Load her into the truck-bed.”

#############

“Just great,” John cursed under his breath. Mom's gonna kill us when she finds out.

All of the students crowded around the window., peering to get a better look at the dead girl. It had been only seven months since the last girl jumped off the roof. This was becoming a yearly event.

“Hey what's that guy doing?” one of the students asked.

John wasn't watching with them. He had to get down there. He figured the impact probably knocked her out. He would have only have 120 seconds before she got up and... to tell the truth he had no idea what Cameron would do anymore. Her behavior had become so unpredictable lately. Would she try to kill him again when she woke up? Would she even remember who he was? Cameron was becoming a liability. A small voice in his head told him that Sarah was right. Cameron was too dangerous to have around, they should deactivate her.

“No,” he said to himself as he rounded the stairs. Things had changed between them; Cameron had changed. He couldn't let anything happen to her.

John burst through the double doors of the school and ran outside, starting to breathe heavily.

Cameron was gone. John felt panic rising up inside as he looked around wildly; trying to catch a glimpse of her.

“Arrrrrrrgh” he groaned, kicking a rock on the ground. A pool of blood remained from where Cameron hit her head. John knelt down to the concrete, searching for drops, trying to find a trail. But there was nothing, nothing at all. It was as if she had simply vanished from the earth.


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