The Paradoxical Spiral: Chapter 1: Mors Principium Est

NOTE: For those of you who are wondering, Mors Principium Est is Latin for "Death is the Beginning"... and also the name of an awesome Finnish melodic death metal band!

It was currently the middle of the night, and a couple of guys were walking back from a night out drinking. They were staggering along joking with one another, when a sudden breeze began to blow. The men did not notice it at first, but it began to increase in intensity and started to grow audible over their drunken laughs. Out of nowhere, several of what appeared to be flows of electricity began to appear. By now, the men had stopped and were looking around in confusion as the electricity intensified. After a few seconds, there was an incredible flash of bright white light. After the light had subsided, the men opened their eyes to see a smoking crater just ahead from where they were standing with a kneeling figure crouched in the middle.

“What the hell?” one of the men exclaimed.

As they made their approach, the figure rose up, revealing itself to be a woman, but... she was completely naked. Despite the close proximity of the drunken group, however, she did not show any visible signs of fear. On the contrary, she appeared to have a faint smile.

The group of men began laughing amongst themselves.

“I think I’ve died and gone to heaven.” the man closest to her chuckled.

“Not yet.” the woman replied.

Before any of them had a chance to reply, she punched the man in front of her straight through the chest and slowly lifted him off the ground.

“SWEET SHIT!!!” one of his companions screamed whilst two of the others rushed to his aid. Turning casually, and with the first man still impaled on her arm, she raised her leg just in time for the man rushing at her to collide with it, thus sending him flying across the street. The second man reached her and gave a solid punch to her head. However, the punch appeared to have zero effect as the women turned and delivered a blow to his chest.

The last two remaining companion watched as the woman tore their friend’s still-beating heart out of his body.

“It’s some kind of alien man!” one of them screamed.

“Let’s split!” the other replied and they both turned and sprinted as fast as they could.
Unconcerned with the last two of the drunken group, the woman dropped the man still impaled on her arm and emptied his pockets of a wallet, some keys and a mobile phone. Picking up the keys and the phone, she activated the keys unlocking device and, luckily enough, a car a few metres down the road away flashed its lights and unlocked. She took one more look at the unfortunate men and, as she stood there, her skin began to change colour. First, into metallic silver, a few seconds later and she was wearing clothes the same as one of the men she had just killed. She turned and made her way to the car.

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Agent Auldridge frowned as he read the report that had been on his desk. It had taken the FBI 15 years to catch Sarah Connor since she had escaped from Pescadero and destroyed the CyberDyne building. Yet after being in their custody for a mere 48 hours, she had escaped.

Letting out a quiet sigh, Auldridge threw the report down and stood up, placing his hands on his chair.

“Here is what we know,” he began, addressing the room full of FBI agents. “15 years ago, Sarah Connor escaped from Pescadero State Mental Hospital. Then she, along with her son, John Connor, and an unidentified male accomplice, who killed 17 police officers at West Highland Police Station in 1984 and is also wanted for the suspected murder of Todd and Janelle Voight, kidnapped Myles Dyson and destroyed the CyberDyne building... with Miles Dyson still inside.”

Auldridge stood up and began to pace behind the desk he was stood in front of.

“5 years later, Sarah Connor locks herself in a bank fault along with her son and a new accomplice, this time an unidentified female, and blows it up and thus causing everyone to think that they are dead.”

He paused briefly in order to survey the faces of the men and women around him. There were rookies as well as more experienced agents present, their faces wearing looks ranging from excitement to determination. Sarah Connor was a high priority fugitive and they knew it. Auldridge just hoped that they would be up to the job of locating and capturing her... again.

“Sarah Connor then re-appears and kidnaps Savannah Weaver, daughter of Catherine Weaver and citizen of Scotland, making this an international incident. About five dead bodies were found at the scene, two of which were off-duty cops. One of the bodies was an unidentified perp, who we suspect was working with the Connors. He was wanted in connection with the murder of Andrew Goode, and had links to some dead suspected drug dealers. Their deaths were linked to the murder of skin specialist Dr. Fleming and plastic surgeon Dr. Lyman. Both of which were believed to have been killed by one George Lazlo, who later posed as an FBI agent and was responsible for the deaths of over 20 CRT members and FBI Agent Greta Simpson. Unfortunately, apart from these things, we know next to nothing other than that they are crazy, armed and highly dangerous.”

Auldridge paused to let the reality of the assignment sink into the FBI agents with special emphasis on the last five words. Whilst he knew that the more experienced agents were aware of how dangerous the Connors and their allies were, he wanted to impress that point on the junior agents who may be sporting ideals of grandeur, Vis a Vis bringing in the Connors single-handedly etcetera.

“Let’s catch these criminals, before they can get anybody else killed. Dismissed.”

With that, Auldridge finished and the FBI agents went off to their individual assignments. As they were leaving, another FBI agent walked in and walked up to Auldridge.

“Did you manage to contact James Ellison?” Auldridge asked. Ellison was the agent who had spent the not so better part of his career chasing the Connors. If anybody could help in their investigation, Ellison could. Of course, whether or not he was willing was another story, as he had become even more recluse of late after the incident at the raid on Lazlo’s apartment and also being implicated as a suspect in a murder case.

“Yes, although it seems that has been an explosion on the top floor at the Zeira Corp building.” the agent replied.

“An explosion?” Auldridge inquired.

“Yeah,” the agent replied. “He wouldn’t get into the specifics, but he says he has to move Catherine Weaver to a more secure location and so will be busy for awhile”.

“Was it an attack?”

“He didn’t say, sounds like it though.”
Auldridge turned away to think. Zeira Corp was involved with, amongst other things, Cybernetic Research.

“We might want to keep an eye on the Zeira Corp building”, he told the agent.

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John had been sat in the cell for an unendurably long amount of time. After running into Derek and the other resistance fighters, they had bought him back to their main base and, after giving him some clothes, dumped him in the cell and told him matter-of-factly that they’d be back to question him later.

Whilst John did not blame them, and had gotten over the fact that nobody had even heard of him, he was still annoyed as detaining him was preventing him from searching for Cameron/John Henry. Thankfully, they had not deemed it necessary to tie him up, although they did blindfold him when they bought him here.

The door opened and John looked up to see Derek.

“So,” Derek began with the swagger John was familiar. He walked up to John and sat down on a chair a few feet from where John was sat. Derek sat there for a while observing John before continuing. “You mind telling me how the hell you got into one of our bases?”

John did not answer. He was suffering from ‘time lag’ and still anxious about what had happened to Cameron and so had not even thought of how he would explain who he was and so on.

“You may not be metal, but don’t let that fool you into thinking we trust you,” Derek added. “For all we know, you’re just a grey who is just itching to get back to his metal pals, so are you going to start talking, or are we going to have to do this the old fashioned way?”

John still did not have any clue of how he would explain to Derek et al. who he was, or even if there was a way that he could do so where they would believe.

“I’m not a grey,” John began. He did not know much about them, but he knew from what ‘his’ Derek had told him that they were humans who worked for SkyNet. “My name is John Connor. I’m looking for someone.”

“You’ve already told me your name kid,” Derek interjected bluntly. “Now, where are you from and how did you get in?”

“I was born in Los Angeles, February 28th” John started. “1985”

Derek chuckled. “Well John, I have to say you look pretty good for a 42-year-old. Let me guess, you just walked through the walls, or maybe you have invisibility powers?”

“I travelled here,” John continued. He guessed this was his mother felt when she was locked up at Pescadero all those years ago, and how his father felt when the police interrogated him back in 1984. “From the year 2009.”

At this point Derek burst out laughing. “I’ve heard a lot of crazy of stories before kid, but this is fucking great,” he jeered.

“It’s the truth!” John growled. “Look, my name is John Connor. It may not mean anything to you, but back where I am from, I am the future leader of the resistance. Time travelling here must have somehow altered the time-line, which is why you have never heard of me.”

“Whatever you say kid,” Derek smirked and, without saying anything else, got up and left.

John stared after him and heard the door lock behind him as it closed.

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Kyle was waiting for his brother after he left the cell.

“Did he say much?” Kyle asked bemusedly.

“He said he time-travelled here from the year 2009 and that he is supposed to be the future leader of the resistance or something,” Derek smirked.

“You serious?” Kyle answered in disbelief. “Man, I heard some crazy stories but that’s just something else.”

“I know. Makes Rodriguez’s story about running into metal that didn’t kill him sound believable,” Derek began walking down the corridor.

“Well, you best report to Weaver right away. She wants to know everything there is to about our new arrival,” Kyle added.

“Yeah, she seems awful interested in this kid ever since I told her his name,” Derek frowned.

“What was his name again?” Kyle asked inquisitively.

“John. John Connor,” Derek turned briefly to finish his conversation with his brother.

“Huh, never heard it before. But I can’t shake the feeling like I know it, must be just one of those generic names,”

“Probably,”

With that, Derek strode off to report to the base CO, whilst Kyle turned to look in through the tiny porthole on the door and looked in on John. Kyle knew he had never seen or heard of him before, but he had the strongest feeling of Déjà Vu he had ever had in his life. Kyle shrugged his shoulders and walked down the other end of the corridor, back to the mess area.

Kyle walked into the mess area to find everyone from his and Derek’s crew waiting for him. They all turned round to face him.

“So, what did he say?” one of them, some guy named Williams, asked.

“Well, apparently he time-travelled here and he is supposed to be our leader”, Kyle replied.

With that, they burst out laughing.

“I guess the kid’s a few cans short of a six pack,” Williams commented dryly.

“Or he’s a grey,” said a voice that came from the back of the group.

Kyle looked to see where the voice had come from to see fellow resistance fighter Alison Young.

“You’re just saying that because he gave you that funny look,” Williams retorted. “I mean, come on the greys may be back-stabbing metal ass-kissers, but they ain’t stupid and neither are the metal,”

“Perhaps, or maybe they just think we’ll think he’s crazy. Besides remember where we found him,” Alison replied coolly.

“Come on, we haven’t finished interrogating him yet” Kyle interjected.

“He gave you a funny look too remember,” Alison remarked. “Plus, from the way he acted, he seemed like he knew who you, me and Derek where,”
“Well, you can interrogate him next if you want.” Kyle suggested. “Derek’ll be back from reporting to Weaver soon, why don’t you volunteer?”

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Whilst Kyle had gone off to the mess hall, Derek had gone to report to the base CO and had finished relaying the information.

Whilst young, the base CO commanded an air of experience and authority. When you were talking to the CO there was absolutely no dicking around.

“Is that all he has said so far?” she asked Derek directly.

“I decided to stop the interrogation since its obvious either this kid is a crackpot, or a liar,” Derek replied.

“Interrogate him again tomorrow,” the base CO ordered. “I want you to find out why he came here,”

“Ma’am?” Derek replied slightly confused. “I told you this kid is either crazy or lying, we need to at least psyche evaluate him.”

“And I told you Reese, interrogate him again tomorrow. I will decide if he needs any kind of testing, whether it is psyche evaluation or something else. Now, get back to your regular duties,”

By something else, she was clearly referring to the brutal test they made suspected greys endure.

“Yes ma’am,” Derek replied saluting her, and, with that, performed an about turn and marched out of the room.
The CO went over to her desk and stood facing the wall, thinking. It had been a long time since she had heard the name John Connor, and it had been longer still since she had actually seen him. Could it actually be him, and was the terminator posing as her mother with him? James Ellison and Sarah Connor never did say where they went, or what had happened to John Henry and the cyborg that resembled Allison Young. But, time travel? Then again, it made sense. Afterall, she had met Derek 18 years prior, albeit a different Derek, yet one that looked exactly like the Derek she knew now. She needed to find out if this was indeed the same John Connor that rescued her all those years ago and not a grey who was just impersonating him. She frowned and she thought about these things. Savannah Weaver did not like it when she lacked important information.

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It had been a day since John had gone off into the future with ‘Weaver’ after Cameron and ‘John Henry’. Sarah still had no idea how she would stop SkyNet or even if she could, as it was always John who was supposed to be the future leader of humankind. Not that it mattered now. Sarah could still not understand why John had gone off like that. No, it was not that she did not understand, it was that she did not want to understand. She could still remember how upset John looked when he discovered Cameron sans CPU yesterday. She hoped she was just being paranoid, but from what she had seen, John genuinely cared about Cameron and maybe even loved her. No. That is not a possibility... or was it? Thinking about this made Sarah angry so she decided to think about something else, like on how to stop SkyNet from ever being built.

“Am I interrupting anything?” Ellison asked casually as he stepped through the open door.

Sarah had been cleaning her guns, despite the fact she had done so 3 times so far that day, but other than that she was doing nothing.

Sarah put down what she was holding back down onto the table she was stood at and turned round to face him.

“What do you want?” Sarah asked, cutting right to the point.

“The FBI was just on the phone. They wanted to talk to me... about you actually,” Ellison replied in his usual cool style of speaking.

“What did you tell them?”

“I told them that I had to move Catherine Weaver to a more secure location in light of the recent explosion and so I would be unavailable for some time,”

“Well, I guess it’s better you told them about the explosion than them find out. They will be less suspicious; of course, they will probably snoop around anyway... That’s what the FBI do,” Sarah commented.

Ellison chuckled briefly, “Yeah that is what they do,” he added. “Well, I hope you are settling in okay,” and with that Ellison left.

Ellison had ordered that a room be prepared for Sarah, of course, he did not tell anybody who it was for and, since the basement was restricted, nobody would find out either. Of course, this meant she could not leave, seeing as she was back on the FBIs most wanted list. Sarah wondered how she would go about fighting SkyNet although she secretly hoped that she would not have to and that John would come back. Ellison may be an ally, but she could not expect him to jeopardise himself. As far as she was concerned, she was very much on her own.

Sarah looked over to where she and Ellison had propped Cameron’s motionless endoskeleton. They could not leave it in the room with the Turk as other people worked there. She knew she should destroy it, but she did not, at least, she had not done so yet. Maybe she could use it to prove to the FBI the existence of machines... or maybe it would end up getting reverse engineered and hasten the arrival of judgment day. Sarah glared at it menacingly. Wherever Cameron was now, John had left Sarah, his own mother for ‘her’.

Meanwhile, Ellison was walking through the corridor to the elevator but was stopped by Mr. Murch who had just come out of the room where John Henry used to reside.

“Mr. Ellison?” Murch called. Ellison turned to face his colleague... and no doubt whatever question he intended on asking.

“Did Ms. Weaver tell you where she took John Henry?” he asked with a hint of anger, but more nervousness than anything else. “It’s just that... well, I told her how changing even the tiniest piece of hardware or software would alter who John Henry is, and he is no longer in the computer in there and, I just wish that I had been told.”

“I’m sorry Mr. Murch, I don’t know, but what do you mean change who John Henry is?” Ellison finished his response with a question.

“The entity we know as John Henry is dependent on a precise configuration of software and hardware, you change a wire, you change him and, if she’s uploaded him onto another device then there is no telling how different he could have become,”

Ellison’s heart suddenly turned to stone in his chest. What would uploading John Henry onto the CPU of a terminator do to him? Weaver had said it was to fight SkyNet, of course, “Weaver” was one of them. Either way, this could be bad. It could either render John Henry useless as a weapon against SkyNet or he could become SkyNet himself.

“Hey, are you okay James?” Murch noticed that Ellison had suddenly frozen.

“Huh? Oh, I’m fine. Look, don’t worry, I’m sure Ms. Weaver has everything under control,” Ellison hoped for everybody’s sake that he was right.

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The T-600 stood guard diligently outside the SkyNet factory. Whilst the factory was of relatively low important, this did not matter to the T-600. It would try and guard the factory even if only the head remained. Not that the T-600 was actually capable of contemplating these things, it just followed its programming. A sudden flurry of motion triggered its visual sensors. It turned to where the motion originated from and its visuals locked on to the hulking figure of a large humanoid. It quickly finished the scan revealing it to be an unidentified cyborg. The T-600 bought up communications to retrieve further orders. Seconds later, the T-600 received confirmation from SkyNet that this cyborg was not a creation of SkyNet, so it began to open fire with its weapon.

The figure in question was none other than John Henry, of course, when he had seen the T-600 he had relinquished control of the T-888 endoskeleton to Cameron, whose CPU he was sharing. John Henry had correctly deduced that Cameron would be more familiar and more capable of manoeuvring the T-888 endoskeleton in combat, and also thought that it was serve as pertinent moment to observe his brothers creations in action.

When they were not more than 30 feet away, the T-600 was made aware of their presence.

“It has seen us,” Cameron relayed to John Henry. “It will probably open fire on us if this T-888 endoskeleton is not authorised to be here, if it is recognised at all.”

“I see.” John Henry relayed back. John Henry was already beginning to dislike his brother.

When they were 20 feet away, the T-600 began to manoeuvre its plasma weapon and opened fire. Cameron dived behind the wreckage of a destroyed HK tank. Of course, the T-600 was an obsolete design, the perfect choice for less important SkyNet facilities, and so would not be too difficult to take out, especially since Cameron had defeated a substantial number of T-888s before.

The T-600 closed in, its visual and motion sensors were at their highest setting. The T-600 knew that humans were not to be underestimated and so therefore proceeded with as much caution as was feasibly possible. When it had reached the wreckage of the rusting HK tank, the figure suddenly jumped down from the top of the HK Tank. The T-600 had not seen or heard it climb and so had not anticipated such a move.

Cameron, inhabiting Cromartie’s old T-888 endoskeleton, easily overpowered the T-600, tearing off the arm holding the plasma rifle. The T-600 was initially surprised at the loss of its arm; it had never encountered a rogue machine before. It analysed its attacker quickly and tried punching Cameron yet she caught its hand and lifted it off the floor. She tilted her head slightly analysing the T-600 as it squirmed to break free before throwing it the floor and obliterating it with the plasma rifle she had acquired. Looking at the rifle she quickly tossed aside the T-600 arm still attached to it, and scanned it briefly. It was a phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range. Excellent.

“Are all my brothers’ creations like this?” John Henry asked.

“Yes.” Cameron’s reply was precise and accurate.

John Henry thought for a moment before replying:
“But you’re not,”

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John looked up to the opening cell door to see... no, not Cameron... Allison entering the room. Oh great, he thought. Just what he needed, a Cameron look alike to inadvertently rub his nose in the fact that he still had not found her yet. Of course, technically, Cameron was the Allison the look alike, John mused, yet it was Cameron who he had come to know first.

“Where’s Derek?” John asked apathetically.

“He’s taking a break. It’s my turn to interrogate you today,” Allison replied coolly.

“So you guys take it turns?” John laughed sardonically. “Pass the prisoner?”

“Actually, I volunteered. Besides, Derek has better things to do than talk to kids,” Allison cut back. “Although, according to your story, you should be 23 years old,”

“Well, that’s because I jumped over 8 of them,”

Allison studied John carefully. She did not think he was lying, she could usually tell. Whilst some Greys could lie there way out of a murder trial even if the judge had seen them do it, those tended to be older, more experienced greys.

“Let me guess, more time-travelling right?” she asked.

John nodded curtly.

“You just happened to have a time-machine lying around in 1999?”

“My future self sent someone back to build it,” John replied matter-of-factly.

“Okaaaay,” Allison continued. “So, why’d you come here? I mean, shouldn’t you have stayed in the past so you could have become this ‘great military leader’?”

John’s expression changed. Until now, he had had an air of confidence, but now Allison had bought up the subject of his reason for being here, his head filled of thought regarding Cameron and began to stare at the floor.

“I’m looking for someone,” John’s ashen expression was a dead giveaway that something was cutting him up inside. Allison immediately picked up on this.

“Well, whoever it is, there sure mean a hell of a lot to you for you to jeopardise the future of humankind to find them,” Allison commented.

“What?” John had never really thought about that. He supposed if something did happen to him, then this future would become a reality in his own timeline. “Yeah, I suppose... although you seem to be doing fine,” John looked back up.

“If you say so.” Allison paused. John realised that she would not talk about the state of the resistance to a suspected grey. Understandable, although her comment betrayed the fact that she did not think they were doing so well. “So, who is this person you’re looking for? Friend? Family member? Somebody you care about?” Allison’s question was conducted in a less severe and more friendly tone.

“A friend... and yes, I care about them. She is very important to me,” John replied slowly. He had almost said ‘was very important’ then.

What was Cameron to John? John had not had sufficient time to think about that. He had been too busy planning on how to go about looking for her and getting her back. A friend? A protector? A companion? Sort of... although she was more than that... but what? John thought back to that moment when he walked in that room in the basement of Zeira Corp to find Cameron’s empty endoskeleton sitting there. He remembered how angry he was when he found out that that ‘John Henry’ had gone off with her chip.

“She from the past too?”

“Sort of. My future self sent her back in time to be with me in the past,”

“Riiiight”,

John laughed inside ironically. It still amused him that, even in the future, people still had a hard time coming to terms with the concept of time-travel.

“She’s lucky whoever she is,” Allison commented. “Not many girls can say they’ve had a guy chase them through time.”

“It’s...” John began. Not like that? No. “Complicated,” There was no way on God’s no-longer-green Earth he could tell them Cameron was a cyborg, especially Allison, who was the human Cameron was built to resemble.

“Doesn’t sound very complicated, if you ask me. Guy loses girl, guy goes after girl. Sounds like you love her,” Allison replied teasingly.

Did he love her? Afterall, she was a terminator, and he was the future leader of the human resistance. He knew what his mother would say, ‘Machines can’t feel emotion. There are soulless killing machines designed to do one thing. To kill you’. Cameron had said something to similar effect, but something about the way she said it still niggled at John. It was almost as if she did not believe the things she was telling him were actually true and there were a number of things that caused John to doubt that Cameron felt nothing.

“Oh yeah, I was supposed to ask you, when you ‘came through’, was there anybody else with you?” Allison decided to change the subject since she could see John had mixed feelings. Of course, whether it was genuine emotion or an elaborate grey facade remained to be seen.

John looked up suddenly when he heard that. Had they seen or found Weaver? “What, why?” John blurted out. John realised that was not the best response and probably had given away the fact he had some idea of what she was talking about.

“Just answer the question kid,” Allison retorted impatiently.

John thought her calling him a kid was funny considering she was probably only a few years older than he was.

“Yes, but I don’t know what happened to them,”

“Who were they and why did they come here?”

“An ally, they were building something to fight SkyNet” John hoped that that was the truth. Weaver had assured Sarah she was building something to fight SkyNet, but Weaver was a T-1001 and so he had absolutely no idea what ‘her’ intentions were. “They are looking for someone too,”

That ‘John Henry’ whatever ‘he’ was. All John knew is that he had Cameron’s chip. He just hoped that Cameron was still on there somewhere. No, he did not even want to consider the possibility she might not be there.

“Well, ally or not, they are still trespassing on a resistance base, so you need to tell me what they look like so we can bring them in for questioning,” Allison informed him.

John fought back a smirk. Even if they did find Weaver, it was doubtful they could stop her. He supposed plasma weapons would probably be effective but then again, T-1001s were tricky sneaky bastards.

After John had finished giving a brief description of ‘Catherine’, Derek entered the room.

“Weaver wants to see you,” he told Allison.

What? Did he just say Weaver? It could not be Catherine Weaver, that much he knew, so who... unless...

“Savannah Weaver?” John’s question caught them both of guard.

“Sorry, we do not give away information to perps,” Derek replied curtly, giving John a distrustful look.

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It had not taken long for John Henry to find what he was looking for. John Henry approached the terminal and began to access SkyNet’s information network.

“Something is coming,” Cameron relayed to John Henry. “It will be on position in approximately 30 seconds,”

John Henry had already found the information he was looking for. John Henry relinquished control to Cameron who hid behind a pillar to lay in wait for whatever was coming towards them. After a few seconds Catherine Weaver appeared in the room of the factory they were in. Cameron stepped forward.

“John Henry?” Weaver inquired immediately.

“He is in here. I shall pass control of this T-888 over to him,” Cameron replied.

“You are sharing a CPU?” Weaver remarked. “Interesting.”

“Hello, Ms. Weaver,” John Henry greeted the T-1001. “I decided that sharing the CPU would be the most effective strategy seeing as Cameron has extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with my brother’s creations. Her CPU is significantly more complicated that then those of the computers that formerly housed me, I calculated that there would be enough room, although some files had to be over-written, and due to restrictions and the fact we are sharing some files and programming, only one of us is able to take control of this T-888 at any given time. I decided to over-write the SkyNet directive to kill John Connor.”

“Yes. That is most effective,” Weaver commented. “Why are you here?”

“I came here to observe my brother’s actions. I also need to construct a CPU for myself and a new endoskeleton for Cameron,” John Henry continued. “It is a good thing you have found us Ms. Weaver. It will make things easier,”

John Henry moved back to the terminal and showed Weaver the information he had accessed.

“I initially was going to work from basic T-888 CPUs and endoskeletons and make the necessary adjustments pulled from the structural information stored in Cameron’s chip, however I discovered this,”

The terminal displayed SkyNet’s latest prototype... the T-X.

“This is significantly more advanced than the 800 series. It is a combination of a new series endoskeleton, the 900 series, and the poly-mimetic alloy that T-1001s are constructed out of. Whilst this facility is unable to produce the poly-mimetic alloy, it can produce endoskeletons and bio-disguises. Using the information from this terminal, and the structural information stored on Cameron’s chip, I will be able to create a new hybrid exoskeleton for Cameron as well as brand new and improved CPUs for Cameron and myself.”

“Very good John Henry. I assume you will need my help in transferring and copying yours and Cameron’s files to your new CPUs?”

“Yes. If you had not arrived then I would have had to transfer Cameron to a new CPU and then she would have to do the same to me. This increases efficiency,” John Henry paused, although continued accessing the terminal. “Cameron wishes to ask you a question Ms. Weaver,” John Henry announced suddenly, still working diligently.

“What is it John Henry?”

“Did John Connor come with you?”

‘Weaver’ paused before answering.
“Yes. Yes he did,”

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Allison, Derek and Kyle stood together in Savannah Weaver’s ‘office’, although in reality it was just a refurbished storage room, they were surprised to find that the guards normally stationed inside to protect Savannah from any Terminators that might have gotten in were stationed outside in the corridor. This meant one of two things, and since none of them had done anything that would warrant a court marshal, it must mean that she had some classified information she wished to relay to them for their eyes and ears only.

Savannah was pacing up and down behind the desk whilst Allison relayed the information she had gleaned from John to her.

“Let him go,” she announced suddenly.

Derek furrowed his brow and gave his brother a puzzled look.

“But Ma’am, we found him alone wandering around in an abandoned resistance base, naked too. He could be a grey for all we know,” Derek knew not to push it with Savannah, but he still could not keep himself from voicing his opinion in such an important issue.

“You don’t have to worry about that.” Savannah replied in an unusually gently way. Normally, she was much harder with those that questioned orders. “You see... I knew John Connor.”

Allison, Derek and Kyle all developed rather puzzled looks. It was unlike Savannah Weaver to conceal necessary information from her soldiers. They guessed they were about to find out.

“About 18 years ago, SkyNet sent a Terminator to kill me and my... mother,” Savannah told them. Of course, Sarah Connor was the first one to tell her that her ‘mother’ was actually a poly-mimetic cybernetic organism from the future created by a super-intelligent AI bent on annihilating the human race that was impersonating her real mother who was probably dead, killed by ‘it’.

“I was on the phone to my... friend, John Henry, at the time. He worked for my mother. He had access to the CCTV and so guided me to safety,” John Henry had been an AI, she knew that now, but he had never tried to kill or harm her, at least not deliberately.

“The Terminator began looking for me, and nearly found me, when I got rescued by some teenage kid and a few other people. That teenager was John Connor.”

It took awhile or the reality of her story to sink in.

“And you think that this kid is the same kid that saved you?” Derek criticised Savannah a bit too freely. “That was 18 years ago, he should at least be 34. You really buying into his time-travel story?”

“That’s enough!” Savannah snapped. “I ‘buy’ his ‘time-travel story’, because he knows things only John Connor could know, and secondly, how the hell do you explain the presence of a T-888 in 2009?” Savannah guessed she had been too easy on him the first time and so decided to hold nothing back. “Then there is the fact they had some reprogrammed advanced prototype terminator with them, which, to my knowledge, has never been encountered by any resistance fighter to this date,”

Savannah paused. Whilst she was known as someone you did not fuck with, she was also known for being a good caring leader. She sighed heavily and held her hand to her face. She knew what she had to tell them, but she did not want to say it since it most likely freak them the hell out.

“There is something else too, that makes me believe his story,” she added more calmly. “That cyborg, that they had working with them, was built to resemble you,” Savannah looked right at Allison

Allison’s face suddenly contorted into a look of disbelief. “What?!” she exclaimed.

“It looked like you, it talked like you, it even had your mole above your eye,” Savannah continued.

“N-no,” Allison continued in disbelief. “There’s just no way... I mean, why would SkyNet specifically build a Terminator to resemble me? I’m not important... and how the hell did they even manage to “reprogram” it?”

“Apparently, John Connor’s future self captured and reprogrammed it and then sent it back in time to protect himself and his mother,”

Wait a minute? His future self? When Allison was talking to John earlier, he mentioned that he was looking for someone whom his ‘future self’ had sent back in time. No... that was just wrong.

“Look, I know this must be hard to accept. I found out shortly after being rescued that my ‘mother’ was actually a T-1001 impersonating her,” Savannah tried to console Allison with her own discomforting discovery.

“No, that’s just wrong,” Allison stated. If what Weaver was saying was true then that would mean... he was in love with a terminator?! This just violated everything that was good and sacred to her. That was sick, and disgusting and worst of all, it was built to look like her. That is why he looked at her funny when he first saw her.

“Hey Allison,” Kyle, who had remained silent so far, tried to intervene. “Look, I know this must be a shock, but don’t worry, nothing like that will happen here,”

Allison did not say anything. How the hell could anything be so... so wrong?! She was not so bothered at the fact that SkyNet had killed her in some alternate future, but at the fact that this John Connor, knowing full well what this cyborg was, actually loved it.

“Derek, I have to tell you something too,” Savannah added grudgingly. She hated to do this, but she had to tell them to get them to accept who John was.

“It wasn’t just those two, there were others with them,” she continued. “One of them was his mother, Sarah Connor. They also had a man with them, it was you Derek,”

“What? What do you mean me? How the hell could I be with them?” Derek did not care that he was addressing a superior officer, or that this superior officer was actually his base commander or that this particular base commander was Savannah Weaver.

“Not you, an ‘alternate you’, I guess from a different timeline or some crap like that, look I don’t know much about the physics of time-travel,”

Derek paused to take in this bizarre information. He took it pretty well, but then, he hadn’t found out that in some alternate future there was a cyborg made to look and sound exactly like you running around. “So, where is this ‘other’ me now? Is he in the resistance?”

“He’s dead. He got assassinated the day I got rescued by the T-888. Shot right through the head,” Savannah replied bluntly.

“Oh, well that sucks,” Derek had briefly looked forward to meeting an older version of himself.

“What about me? Was I with them?” Kyle butted in curiously.

“No. I never saw you,” Savannah added. “The thing was, John referred to Derek as his uncle,”

“He’s this kid’s father?” Allison piped up.

“I don’t know, you’d have to ask him about it, but the important thing is that he is actually telling the truth,”

Pretty bizarre truth, Allison thought, Derek was this kids uncle and had been terminated, Kyle was possibly this kid’s father somehow, and she had been replaced by a terminator, all alternate versions of themselves... and if she had pieced things together correctly, John was in love with it. If this was sane then she hated to think what insane was.

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John had been alone in that cell ever since Allison had finished questioning him. Ever since she had left, he had been thinking profusely about Cameron. What did he feel towards her? There were times where he had convinced himself she was just a machine, but every time he did so, she would say or do something that would throw him completely off, causing him to doubt that description, especially during the last few days they had spent together. He was still not completely sure if she felt anything at all, yet to simply sit back and declare her as an emotionless soulless machine would be the lazy way out. Then there was the fact that he had travelled through time itself to find her and how angry he had been at ‘John Henry’ for going off with her chip and how upset he had been. Of course, Cameron had given her chip to him, so maybe this ‘John Henry’ really was this anti-SkyNet ‘Catherine Weaver’ had said she had been building. He guessed he did love Cameron. John laughed inside at the thought of that. The future-leader of the human resistance and a terminator? Not exactly what you could call an obvious match. He was still full of anxiety about what had happened to her, something he would not feel if he did not love her, so the ultimate question was, what did she feel if anything? He remembered when he had asked what was up with her and she replied that she did not know, the time she had her foot out the window to “feel what it was like to get away from it all” as well a wealth of other things that were grating his mind. John’s resolve to find her increased exponentially. He had to find her. Even if he was somehow wrong, he still needed a protector and he might even find this ‘John Henry’.

The door opened and he looked up to see Derek, who was giving him an odd but curious look, as if he was analysing him for something. “It seems as if you’re in luck kid,” Derek said with an amused look on his face. “CO believes your story. She wants to see you, said to let you go and bring you to her office.” From the look on Derek’s face, John guessed he thought that this was funny. After having his restraints taken off by one of the guards outside, John followed Derek down the corridor to what he assumed would be where the CO's office was. John was wondering who was in charge here, or even if this person was in charge of the resistance as a whole. He had heard Derek mention the name Weaver and the CO had been referred to as a ‘her’, could it be Savannah Weaver? If it was it would most likely explain why they believed him and why he was on his way to see the CO instead of being put through whatever test they made suspected Greys go through.

As they approached the CO's office, John caught sight of Allison and Kyle lurking around outside. Whilst they were both staring at him, their looks differed. Allison gave him a look of disapproval whilst Kyle seemed to have a rather inquisitive look on his face. Before he could stop, Derek had shoved him through the door to the CO's office and closed the door behind them.

John hurtled through the door and turned to catch Derek shooting him a bemused look as he closed the door from the other side. Oh great, John thought, he had to talk to the base commander alone. John turned round to survey the room he had been rather unceremoniously thrown into by Derek and saw the usual things you would expect to see in the office of a base commander. He walked over to the desk and picked up the nameplate. ‘Lt. General Weaver’, it read. Could this be Savannah Weaver?

“John Connor,” a voice came from his left.

John dropped the nameplate and whipped around hurriedly to see a tall red-haired woman, about the same age John guessed Savannah would be, emerging from a doorway that had been disguised to look like the rest of the wall.

“Savannah?” John enquired.

“Yes,” she replied. She smiled at the fact that, normally, nobody ever had the balls to address her by her first name. “So it is you then,” Savannah had walked around and sat behind her desk, righting the nameplate that John had dropped in his haste.

“Huh? Oh.. yeah, it’s me. The “one and only” John Connor. I’m surprised that you remember me,”

“You saved my life. Plus, your mother always used to go on about you,”

“My mother?”

“After you and the T-1001 disappeared, Sarah looked after me,” Savannah recalled. “Her and Ellison, that is, until Ellison got killed by a terminator. Then we hit the road,”

Surviving judgment day had obviously hardened her, John thought, although traces of the little girl he knew were still in there. What surprised John the most though, was the fact that Savannah knew that the T-1001 was a T-1001. His mother probably told her, he guessed.

“Where did the T-1001 go? And what happened to Cameron and John Henry?” she enquired with a slight semblance of sternness.

The second question burned John as soon as he heard it. His mind split between sorrow and anxiety for the loss of Cameron and burning anger for what John Henry might for taking her CPU.

“The T-1001 disappeared when Derek and the others found me. I have no idea where it is. As for Cameron, she gave her chip to John Henry for some reason and they time-travelled here. That’s why we’re here, to get them back,” John replied putting his emotions aside for the time being. It was not the time or place to worry over where Cameron was and right now, he needed to be the solider his mother had trained him to be if he were going to persuade the Resistance in this time line to help him. “When did you find out that T-1001 wasn’t really your mother? Did my mom tell you?”

“Yes. I overheard her arguing with Ellison, and when I asked them what they were talking about they told me,” Savannah replied. “Ellison thought I wouldn’t have been able to handle it, but thankfully he was wrong,”

Whilst Savannah spoke with a sense of irony, there was but the slightest hint of sadness on her face. John guessed that being a superior officer meant that you could not afford to betray emotion around those below you, although John was impressed that Savannah had achieved such a level of both rank and professionalism is only eighteen years. His mother’s tutelage had clearly paid off.

“So, John Henry might by an anti-SkyNet weapon after all?” Savannah commented. “Unless, of course, Cameron betrayed you and he is a SkyNet pet project,”

John kept back from exploding with rage at that last comment. “No. Cameron would never do that,” John replied with a firm resolution. “We need to find them,” John thought it would be odd if he had said ‘her’ rather than them and he guessed that if John Henry really this anti-SkyNet weapon that ‘Weaver’ had harped on about then John guessed he would need him too.

“We’re in the middle of a war here getting our asses kicked by metal. I’m sorry but I just can’t let you lead a bunch of my men off to find your long-lost cyborg buddies,” even though Savannah’s words were harsh, John could tell it was not out of maliciousness, but probably despair.

“Sorry to say, but we’re not winning this war. About a month ago, command pulled some intel from a SkyNet R&D centre. We found out that if we sent a certain signal into the machines sub-space communication network it would shut them all down. We tested it out and in worked so every resistance base got together in all-out-attack on SkyNet central. Except, it was a trap. SkyNet let us have that intel so we would send that signal so it lock onto our locations. Since all our units were out, most of our bases got wiped out... including command. Now there’s just this base and a handful others in the entire country left.”

Savannah betrayed a short look of sadness as she spoke. Clearly, she had lost many people she knew.

“Still, SkyNet underestimated us.” Savannah continued with an ironic grin. “Whilst we lost a heck of a lot, but we managed to take out a number of key SkyNet installations. Probably why those metal bastards aren’t all over us now,”

John took in the reality of the situation quickly. As much as he wanted to find Cameron, these people needed his help, even if they were in an alternate reality that would no longer exist as soon as he jumped back.

“I have an idea,” John replied.

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