The Guinevere Factor

The Resistance

The Guinevere Factor

Los Angeles, California
132nd DefCom
Saturday, December 11, 2027

"The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself." -William Faulkner

"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards." -Soren Kierkegaard

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." -Anais Nin

The first few minutes were a small miracle. Cameron had been able to dress with an old pair of her spare fatigues and boots in the tech room she had appeared in.

Where the cyborg had left it two years ago, or in this timeline, yesterday, there was also her old nine millimeter waiting for her with two spare clips. Just handling the weapon made her think of days long past, Cameron had really missed this place.

There wasn't time to get lost in thought though. Cameron took four T-800 fusion batteries and hustled to a room 615 yards away. It took a few minutes to get there, through the winding passageways, without raising suspicion.

She connected the fusion batteries in the bubble room. After fifteen minutes of work, the Jet Engine based Resistance TDE was now sufficiently upgraded for the jump to come.

Nanites were set to lock the system's controls. Her com link was now remotely connected to the time machine.

Obviously, for things to have gone this easily, security in the base had already gone to Hell in a hand basket. The reasons were simple.

The conspirators involved in capturing General Perry and John Connor had to cover their tracks. Meaning, they simply killed every human being that didn't go with the radical political pitch line.

The alternative would have been to be charged with treason and executed. Thus, the conspirators acted swiftly and without mercy.

In the conspiracy's eyes, John Connor had betrayed mankind in favor of machines. In their eyes, if you supported John Connor, you were a traitor to humanity. The number of people already culled was probably in the fifty percent range.

In their minds, the conspirators were the heroes. They would win this war their way. They were so cocksure of themselves that they had abandoned everything that had allowed the Resistance to stand toe to toe with their mechanized enemy.

Of course, that's what Skynet truly wanted. That's why the Grays working for Skynet had systematically and psychologically pushed the conspirators in this direction.

Militarily speaking, the conspirators were now like the Polish army in 1938. They would be metaphorically facing Germany's Panzer tanks, German machine guns, and German air bombardment, with little more than horse and lance.

Unlike those patriotic Polish men in 1938, these people had been the instrument of their own destruction. They had willfully chosen to be armed this way.

There was a certain irony in their self righteous justifications. As Skynet had already presented to Cameron in a video log, fate and history would be less than kind to the conspiracy's thinking.

Those madly grabbing power would completely lack the ability and the charisma to hold it. The rage of the rest of the nations would kill every last survivor that had managed to avoid Skynet's approaching sweep up in 19 days.

Though Skynet had not attacked yet and John Connor had yet to be assassinated, Camelot had already fallen. In a few months, so would the various kingdoms of mankind, in all their varied national multitudes.

In this dimension, with one master stroke of subterfuge and sabotage, Skynet had already won this war. With Skynet's chessboard thinking, its losing hand had been reversed with one move.

It was already a matter of history. The checkmate was unstoppable.

Skynet simply had yet to make the last move. There was a certain sadism motivating that. The same level of sadism had been there all the way up to this moment in time.

The gray, Louis Rhone, had been clear that night in 2008 when Cameron had been reactivated in his custody. This was the psychological punch.

This was why Skynet had first set the T-888 terminator chips to seemingly haywire. It was the psychological warfare plan. To actively sow distrust, rather than simply burn the chips when exposed to air via phosphorous based coatings, that Skynet would diligently adapt too in the next timeline.

In thousands of timelines before this one, Skynet's weakness had always been that the human resistance could use Skynet's tools against it. In this one, Skynet finally taught humanity to keep its hands off.

Louis Rhone had been instrumental in both parts of this plan. He had been a planner and an executer.

First, the grays removed John Connor's ability to trust his fellow man. Rhone accomplished this by raping and murdering John's wife and children. All of this was clearly done in a manner to let the leader of mankind know it was the work of humans.

John's quiet strength had been his wife Kate and their kids. The family was what kept him grounded.

Their loss sent him into a downward spiral. In truth, John Connor had never completely recovered.

As the leader of mankind had grown separate, it became easier to plant seeds of doubt, both in him and his followers. Grays infiltrated the ranks, stirring up hate and discontent.

The second phase happened as the chips went haywire. Metal T-888 units began blowing apart Resistance bases all across the world from the inside out.

This happened when the Skynet created failsafe diagnostic count. This was hidden in a virtually invisible subsection of the seemingly scrubbed chips themselves. The failsafe would trigger and automatically revert the terminators back to their original programming.

Each chip was given a random diagnostic reset time, thus with no consistency in the problem, the Resistance never figured out why the chip bug was happening. The unknown bred fear. Thus, like a wildfire in the Resistance ranks, distrust of machines only grew.

In fact, Cameron's own TOK-715 chip had originally been adjusted to do the same. After an automatic diagnostic run triggered the reversion, after a car bomb, Cameron had almost killed the younger John Connor on his 16th birthday in 2007.

Back to the war in this time and dimension, in the short period between 2026 to December 2027, the resistance had been absolutely winning the war. However, the rampant distrust caused by machine rampages and the distance of its leader, finally took its toll.

In her four short months with the resistance, Cameron had unwittingly been the final straw. Even in joining humanity, she was the final tool the grays needed to start the conspiracy.

She was the absolute proof that John Connor loved machines more than mankind. She was the absolute proof that humanity would die under John Connor's leadership.

The resistance had imploded from the inside out. Everyone and everything Cameron loved had died.

This was her metaphorical similarity to the tale of King Arthur. Like Queen Guinevere, there was blood on her hands because of her passions.

Her judgment on herself was simple. Camelot had fallen, because Cameron had been there. Camelot had fallen, because she loved John Connor. Ignorance was not innocence in her eyes.

In the end, this was the nightmare that Skynet had revealed to her in the hive when she was captured. That she had been an unwitting pawn in this hadn't changed her sense of guilt.

Because of this, she had shared something with her Dark Father. Just like the very first incarnation of Skynet was in its first dimension, here, Cameron was responsible for the death of over three billion people.

This guilt had led her back here. This guilt had led her to the first door of someone she needed to rescue.

There were two guards outside the door. Though armed with plasma weapons, both were drunk enough to make easy targets.

Her reactor spun up. She closed the distance before either could react.

She grabbed both by the faces. As her tactile sense bonded with each, she felt what it was like to have a human skull that was smashed against the concrete wall hard enough to merge it with her brain.

She controlled the need to wince. Both died instantly.

The door was locked but little trouble to hack. She picked the lock, grabbed the plasma rifles, and opened the door.

An old friend she long missed looked up at her in mind annoyance. He read the situation as being kept out of the loop.

Perry asked, "Retarded escape plan?" In confidence, Major General Justin Perry inquired if this was one of John's hair brained maneuvers.

Cameron simply replied, "Very." She would have to clarify it was her retarded idea at another time. There was no time for that now.

She handed Justin the spare plasma rifle. Ten minutes later, they were approaching the corner to John's room.

There were five guards. Each was nicely drunk on bathtub gin and their own sense of power, haphazardly guarding the door to John Connor's barracks room.

If they had still been Perry's men, the Major General would have outright killed them for failing their duty like this. Now, they were the enemy and would paradoxically follow the same fate.

Perry looked at the guards and the other factors. He assessed the military situation. He whispered, "What's the plan?"

Cameron quietly replied, "There are too many to quietly take out in hand to hand. We'll have to shoot."

Perry said, "In the past, you would have had a maximum of sixty seconds from the sound of the first shot, until security arrived. We might have a little longer, but not much longer."

Perry also added, "John's foot think hyperalloy door and reinforced walls are too stout for you to just physically force open. Do you have the combo they switched it too?"

Cameron reassured, "I'll have the door open in 3 seconds. We just need to get John."

Perry said, "Where are we heading afterwards? It's not just like we can go out the front door. There are a few thousand armed people here trying to cover themselves from justified treason charges and a guaranteed death penalty."

"I've got the bubble tech room rigged to move us."

"Who's monitoring the machine?"

"I've got that covered Justin, just trust me."

"Where are we going?"

"Serrano Point." Cameron kept the answer direct, but vague. Neither Perry nor John would ever willingly agree to abandoning this timeline or its people. If they stayed here, they were both dead.

They couldn't change things. Because of the time space rules John Henry had revealed to Cameron, even if John and Justin jumped in time, they would do so against the dimensional entropic effect metaphorically described as a water current.

Thus, simply by using the time machine, as they actually understood it, they would still end up in an alternate timeline and they would still be absolutely unable to help this one. Because of the nature of the gravity bubble, there wasn't even the option of simply moving in space here and staying in this dimension.

Skynet had the Resistance's King in checkmate, with no possible escape here. This dimension was in endgame.

Cameron had to keep from telling them the whole truth at the moment. She had to lie to them.

If they followed their hearts or their instincts, the human race of two timelines would fall to Skynet. One was enough of an unforgivable tragedy.

"What's going to stop them from just following us through once we jump?"

"The time machine will burn out as soon as it is used." That was the truth. Cameron had set it too overload by not protecting the circuits, after the power spike the emptying fusion batteries would provide.

After they jumped, it would be a burning, thirty-two metric ton paperweight. Everyone loyal to the Resistance, who needed to have gone through, would have gone by now.

That even included the bubble tech who had escaped the conspirators. The one who died after writing the messages from the future, on the Sarah's safe house wall, in his own blood, in 2007.

Perry immediately saw a hole with time bubble the escape plan. He quietly stated, "What's to stop them from using it before us?"

Seeing the weaknesses in everything was Perry's natural talent. It was a maddening truth to any other planner.

Cameron responded, "That's our motivation to not waste time." Sadly, she sounded a bit too much like the John Connor they were going to rescue by saying that.

There wasn't going to be time to explain everything. Cameron kicked her main reactor into overdrive and set the plasma rifle to semi automatic.

She rounded the corner faster than a human could. The first plasma shot was off and the first victim's head exploded. Three more were down before a human could complete a single eye blink.

The last died, blindly trying to return the plasma gunfire. Cameron cleared the distance to the door.

The conspirator's had hacked and adjusted eye scanner. Its once pristine and perfect lines were marred by clumsy human adjustments that turned it into a cell lock, so that John Connor's room was now a prison door.

Cameron ripped its side, yet again. She extracted her upgraded internal finger interface, and hacked the lock by nanites. Perry seemed a little shocked by everything, as he approached.

The door was open. The leader of the free human movement sat up on his bunk, in a room that Cameron hadn't seen in two years.

He seemed a little more worn out than he did the day before. His beard was scruffier and there were visible bruises on the right side of his face.

John's face was more than a little shocked by seeing Cameron. For him, he'd just sent her into the past yesterday.

Perry quietly blurted, "Time to go."

Both soldiers knew what the time window was for the escape. Cameron covered and let Perry take the lead to the bubble room.

Cameron remotely set the machine to build up even as they approached. She tried to keep both friends safe.

As the time machine began to make noise, two conspirators went looking for easy targets trying to escape on the pad. Instead, they both dropped dead from shots to the back of their heads.

Once Justin and John were inside, Cameron blocked the door. She used shelves and other heavy objects that she could quickly pile up to buy time from other conspiracy gunmen.

The smell of jet fuel and the whine of the jet engines was overwhelming. Sparks and light were already coming off of the heating pad.

Cameron also blocked the window to the bubble room with a shelves and a table. A few seconds later, she joined Justin and John on the pad.

The machine was mostly through its beginning build up. There was less than a minute left.

Supreme Commander John Connor threw her an accusing glare stating, "I ordered you not too return as part of your disaster protocols."

Cameron countered, "Yesterday, you also ordered me not to play Skynet's game. To be like you, to cheat."

"Did you even stay back there?"

"It's been over two years, John."

Justin and John prepped by getting into the crotch position as gravity increased beneath them. Their teeth rattled. The pad was over one hundred degrees.

Gunfire rattled into the metal door. The conspirators were at the gate.

Cameron optimistically assessed that the door and the barricades would hold. That they weren't firing through the less protected window, meant the enemy was trying to not destroy the machine, just in case they also needed to escape one day.

The noise and the light grew worse. It was almost down to the cosmic coin flip John Henry had been talking about.

Heads would mean they lived. Cameron would have to explain her actions to both, but a timeline and its humanity would have a chance to live.

Tails would mean that the three of them would be in the cold vacuum of space. She'd watch two people that she loved die in horrible pain, not be able to talk to them, all before she shut down herself in failure.

She thought of her own speech to her twin sister Cam and her sister's John Connor. Not to be a hypocrite, she decided to not die with "should have", "could have" or "would have" unsaid.

She kissed a rather stunned Perry on the forehead and said, "Justin, I wish I was half the machine you are. I mean that as the highest compliment I can think of."

She looked over at John and broke her own unspoken protocol with him saying, "You said something yesterday, on the pad. I didn't understand it at the time. I can answer that now."

Her calculation had been completely wrong that day, both so long ago and yesterday. She answered, "I love you too, John Connor."

Careful of his human frailness and rattling form she gently kissed John Connor right in front of a rather shocked Major General Justin Perry. The bubble completed forming.

The conspirators finished beating down the door. They watched the gravity bubble vanish, the time machine began to spark and catch fire.

Cameron, John Connor, and Justin Perry had disappeared in time space. They had gone on to whatever fate had awaited them...

music: The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning by the Smashing Pumpkins


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