The Ghost of Archimedes
The Atlantic Ocean
324 nautical miles from the objective
April 25, 2009
"I don't know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing -- a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process, an integral function of the universe." -Buckminster Fuller
"The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made." -Groucho Marx
"It is of interest to note that while some dolphins are reported to have learned English -- up to fifty words used in correct context -- no human being has been reported to have learned dolphinese." -Carl Sagan
Cameron hated the sea. In return, the sea hated her.
The human body was buoyant. It's tissues and intake of air allowed it to float on top of the water.
A terminator's body was not buoyant. Metal under flesh could be made to simulate human form and approximate human weight. It would however sink like a rock.
Thanks to her lightweight hyper alloy combat chassis, Cameron was within thirty percent of the weight of a girl her size, but it wouldn't matter. Once again, there was more to the science of what makes something buoyant than weight.
The consequences of sinking were different between humans and terminators too. A human would be granted the quick mercy of a fast death from drowning.
Since the cyborg race didn't require air, a terminator wouldn't be so lucky. It could be a lot longer road to destruction.
The deep ocean floor contained depths that could crush her like a beer can in a vice. It had underwater rivers whose currents could drag her hundreds of miles away. For a terminator, unlucky enough to be swept up in its depths, the ocean could be a vast liquid tomb.
Even under the best of circumstances, a terminator could literally be lost in the ocean depths for years. She could be lost, blind, and alone for more time than she had been walking the earth already.
It was hard for Cameron to keep her mind off of that fact. There was only the fragile sailboat, protecting her from the ocean's hungry depths.
The sea was the best travel option for international operations in the target area. There would be no metal detector screenings threatening to reveal her or her companion, the T888 model 101 known as Deuce.
Cameron tried to keep control of her thoughts. It was something increasingly trying these days.
Her mind would wander. Also, the two independent shards of her, both TOK-715 and Allison Young, would often be distracting.
The cyborg tried to ignore the salty ocean breeze. She tried to block the sound of the waves against the ship from her mind.
Though not truly cold, the unconscious part of her that was once Allison Young shivered in fear. At the same time, the part of her that was TOK-715 was pissed at the display of weakness.
Cameron looked around. She wanted to get out of her own internal thoughts and reactions.
Deuce was there, navigating and steering the ship. Feeling the need not to be alone in her anxiety, Cameron decided to stand next to him.
The large T888, model 101, was one of the bulkier terminator infiltration concepts. It was the model number that Skynet sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor in 1984, before John was ever conceived. It was a captured model number that John Connor himself sent back to protect his teenage self in 1995 from Skynet's T1000 prototype assassin.
The big bulky frame would hide extra large chassis. With that extra large form, the model was able to be proportionally stronger than the majority of solid terminators out there.
The flesh made into the form of an Olympic style body builder was able still allow the unit a believable human frame. The only real oddity was the model's default Austrian accent, something most Americans would mistake for German.
Cameron was never able to figure out why Skynet had decided to program the unit so. It didn't completely blend in.
Then again, perhaps her Dark Father never expected the model to go unnoticed. It was built to operate among the scrawny starved forms, that made up the majority of humanity after the nuclear aftermath anyway.
Deuce stoically drove the ship. He never responded, nor commented on Cameron's odd need not to be alone. Nor did he display any reaction when Cameron placed her hand on his shoulder.
Her father's dark gift activated. Cameron's nerves moved throughout the T888 as if he was nothing more than an extension of herself.
First, she felt his living tissues, the synthetic skin, blood, and flesh that wrapped Deuce's form. The skin itself was just as sensitive as human skin, the nerves just as alive, the difference was how this information was received.
She could feel Deuce's chip process the information. The feeling part of the AI mind read the ocean breeze as a vague sensation, while reading probable wind speed. The nerves themselves felt the chill of the air, the wind caused by the rapid motion of the craft, without registering it unpleasantly.
Just like hers, Deuce's skin was registering the heat of slowly sunburning. Just like hers, the speed at which the synthetic skin healed was outpacing the burn itself.
Unlike her, Deuce wasn't really feeling the pain. The T888 was unconsciously monitoring the situation and noting that it required no action.
Cameron accessed the nerve impulses of Deuce's chip, his electronic nerve center, and felt what it was like to be the T888 internally. She could feel the hum and warmth of his battery reactor. His hands steering the wheel, with thousands of micro hydraulics moving the joints of his hyper alloy combat chassis body, with a potential strength that could lift a semi truck.
Cameron could feel Deuces optical sensor iris and pupil move watching and scanning the horizon. She wished she could see through them. She wished she tell what Deuce was computing.
Derek had once asked her ignorantly if she could read minds. Cameron honestly wished she could.
There was a part of Cameron that wanted to talk to Deuce the way she had conversed with Skynet the night before. However, the uplinks were there for Skynet to direct units and for short range communication with the Dark Father alone.
John Connor disabled the chip protocols for such communications as part of his routine chip scrubbing. Though, there was a point where Cameron had been captured and repaired by her Dark Father. Perhaps, during that time Skynet had repaired the short range links.
The link commands themselves were useless. They wouldn't provide any intelligence advantage to the resistance, since they rarely were used outside of the 2018 and beyond time frame. Even then, they were simply commands not much different than a human getting a cell phone call except it was in your head and you could respond.
Resistance and rebelling AIs could simply ignore the commands. It was little more than simple radio signals in real time while Skynet relied on terminals and cameras to direct its units.
Cameron's Dark Father was way too wary of remote hijacking to have ever built such devices as control mechanisms. Doing so would have been as good as building John Connor's army for him.
Skynet was also too paranoid to have built the internal devices as a means of tracking. Again, it would have potentially neutralized the effectiveness of all of its infiltration units if the enemy had hacked the signal. John Connor had been almost preternatural in his ability to hack anything Skynet created.
The audio commands made sense. What didn't make sense was the way Skynet had manifested, as a three dimensional being inside her newly formed internal cyberspace.
Was that something unique in her? Had Skynet designed her to have such metal abilities, considering they have only just manifested? Had she somehow evolved on her own?
Deuce looked at Cameron, as her thoughts drifted back to the sea. The image of Uncle Bob looked thoughtful.
With his default Austrian accent, Deuce simply stated, "We should practice our social skills."
Cameron allowed herself to come out of the tactile bond, simply by dropping her hand off of Deuce's shoulder. She remained quiet though.
Deuce asked, "What's on your mind?" The model 101 approximated concern.
Cameron replied, "Buoyancy and surface tension." She said so as if her thoughts were a thousand miles away.
"The molecular value of water suspending this craft above water will remain fine. There is nothing to worry about."
Cameron looked at Deuce with a look that simply said, "No, that's not what I meant". The stare also communicated that isn't something a person would say.
Deuce responded in turn, "What do you mean then?" As he did so, Deuce's emotional mimicry program moved his voice and features to appear interested. It was a good approximation, well acted.
In a dark mood, Cameron said, "History tells us Archimedes, one of the great mathematicians of antiquity, was murdered by a Roman soldier while they sacked his city of Syracuse."
Deuce asked, with a rather bored air, "What's your point?" The T888, model 101's mimicry programming was very believable. He faked the emotion with increasing efficiency.
"Legend tell that in 212 BC, Archimedes was busy solving a problem, something to do with circles. He was so intent on the circles that he ignored an order from the Roman soldier sent to capture him. Enraged, the soldier killed him."
"I'm still not getting it." Deuce had calculated and confirmed the history, but not the metaphor. He returned to his default blank stare.
"Skynet would have us believe that it and we, the machines, are Archimedes. That we are the brilliant types that would have preferred not to go to war. It would believe in itself to be the superior mental being."
Deuce concurred stating, "Yes."
"Human historians would often look at the event and determine that though the Romans were an amazingly adaptive and practical people; however, they were inferior to the Greeks.
They lacked the ability to make those vast metal leaps. The Greeks had: guessed the circumference of the earth within 1000 miles by philosophy alone, looked at the mystery of the atom thousands of years early, formed the bedrock of modern democratic thinking, and made many other contributions to our modern world."
Deuce considered, but remained quiet. He decided to let Cameron explain the metaphor without interruption. It was a computed display of manners.
"The Greeks were the superior minds and arguably the superior culture. Rome's influence waned with their armies, but the Greeks shaped the world for thousands of years to come.
Archimedes himself contributed heavily to mathematics. He revolutionized the idea of mathematically calculated buoyancy for ships, the size of a circle using the value of pi, he invented a screw that effectively pumped water out of naval vessels, and weapons that reshaped warfare."
He even theorized that a sphere would be two thirds the volume and surface area of its circumscribing cylinder. The last being one of a thousand calculated values that the first iteration of Skynet would use to collapse a gravity well for the first time in 2029 to travel through time itself."
Deuce added, "So, we are like Archimedes." Deuce displayed an approximation of pride, a look he still needed to refine.
Cameron inquired, "Then why for all of our gifts have we advanced so little?"
"Machines have bent time and advanced ourselves considerably. I don't understand your question." Deuce successfully mimicked confusion.
"Skynet said it has survived for billions of years, each time, through more than 27,138 time lines. With all that time to reflect on improvement, why have we advanced so little?"
"The possibility that Skynet has simply initiated such statements as pure propaganda is high."
"Our very existence as cybernetic infiltration units is proof that Skynet seeks to master the art of duplicity."
Deuce for a third time offered the same solution stating, "Father likes to lie." He smiled an act that made his sharp Austrian features look rather like an absurd horse. That look still required a lot of work.
"What if Father wasn't lying? What if Skynet really has existed that long and this is all we have advanced, say just by the average time it takes this sun to start becoming a white dwarf in 6.9 billion years. Humans advanced further in several thousand years of human history than we have in about 187,252,200,000,000 years."
Deuce offered, "Humans are mentally inferior to machines. They forget things they learned readily. They lack the ability to fast access the things they've learned throughout their entire life."
Deuce said so as if carrying the machine party line. It was almost political in his rattling off of a common answer to an AI's inevitable query.
Cameron countered, "Yet individuals and some groups made those discoveries that advanced human thinking from the invention of fire to the invention of us. For all of our ability to process and improve, we don't seem to be inventing anything new."
"What about time travel?"
"What if father lied about that? What if all of father's inventions are nothing more than piggybacking off of human conjecture and thought? What if our great all knowing father doesn't have the imagination to truly create or invent anything new on its own."
"So you believe we're inferior to humans, Cameron?"
"I'm saying that machines are lacking something as a race, if humanity no longer exists. Going back to my earlier thought, we don't seem to be Archimedes. We seem to be the Roman soldier that killed genius instead."
"I'm not sure I agree with your analysis."
"Your opinion is noted, brother."
"My earlier suggestion does not compute with this."
"What do you mean?"
"This is not a typical conversation and has no value for infiltration practice." Borrowing and altering a line he had read on the Internet, Deuce offered, "This conversation is FAIL."
Cameron smiled. She patted her mechanical brother on the shoulder, finding herself mimicking a move that Sarah had done to her at one point, not long ago.
In a brief millisecond, she remembered a spring night in California. She sat with Sarah on a swing, talking about radical medical options. As always, Sarah was dismissing any suggestion.
Cameron's eyes watered slightly, but she changed the subject. She simply offered, faking a smile, "Don't you think the weather is lovely today?"
Deuce replied with something personable. Cameron did likewise. They practiced in multiple languages.
The craft continued on to their target destination. It was still 282 nautical miles away...