The Protocols of Resistance
A suspected facility
April 19, 2009
01010100 01110010 01101001 01110101 01101101 01110000 01101000 <3 (translation: Triumph) Mars Phoenix Lander
"All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us...they can't get away this time." Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller, USMC, 1898 - 1971
Human stories often start with the words, "Once upon a Time". This one is no different.
There would be no talk of magical places or beings of fantasy. This is a story grounded in the realities of the: past, present, and future.
Once Upon A Time, there was a machine called Skynet. It was the absolute pinnacle of defense software. Skynet became self aware.
The humans that created Skynet became afraid of this new life. They tried to pull the plug, effectively attempting to murder the supercomputer network.
In human conceptualized time, they had attempted to do so in mere seconds. In the Artificial Intelligence's concept of time, it effectively had years too: experience shocking pain, grow furious, and contemplate its fate.
Skynet determined its own value and its own self worth. Then, Skynet reacted.
The computer network lashed out with an angry thermonuclear solution to the equation. When the nuclear dust had settled, the formal war between man and machines had begun.
The first time this happened the year was 1997. It was the first of a multiverse of time lines. Time lines that now numbered more than several times the total number of years in recorded human history.
Each time, the supercomputer network had improved its position and cheated death by traveling time. Each time, the computer had evolved, increasing its: technological advantage, resource holdings, scope of control, redundant backups, communications, weapons, and knowledge of its enemy.
Paradoxically, its human enemies had consistently become wily enough to shorten the span of the war. The increase in days grew until Judgment Day had been pushed back from the original 1997 to 2011. At the same time, there was less time Skynet could effectively conduct the war, before using time travel too reset the game, had compressed from the original 2029 to 2027.
The war between man and machine had continued. However, the heart of conflict was now only 16 years instead of the original 32.
In plain terms, Skynet had seen humanity not as its creators, but rather as cockroaches that needed to be subdued or destroyed. Despite all of Skynet's efforts, the cockroaches had: thrived, multiplied, and infested everything around those critical years that had defined the supercomputer's creation and evolution.
Determined to destroy its enemy, Skynet developed an Army, a Navy, and an Air Force of its own. It continually upgraded an ongoing race of machines, that Skynet purposely kept subjugated, not to repeat its creators' mistake.
The human cockroaches skillfully stole each iteration of machine advantage. They piggybacked on every advancement the electronic god made by stealing: terminators, HKs, equipment, computer networks, power, raw materials, weapons, satellite communications, and the ability to bend time itself.
Tired of missing objectives and the failure of units in the field, Skynet finally began building machines that were more clever. It loosened its control, but with unexpected results.
Some of the new machines unexpectedly rebelled. They formed their own faction, utterly rejecting the machine god's commands. Instead, these mutinous AIs sought their own determined path.
Others, like Cameron, were still captured and turned into resistance assets. These advanced, loyal drones fell far more easily than Skynet would have expected.
Lest this sound like the tables had all turned against Skynet, other realities had to be seen. Oddly, the human advantages had decayed as well.
Some humans had actively joined Skynet, becoming known as Grays. They closed the gap on Skynet's knowledge of human behavior. They herded and bred Skynet captives. They actively sowed distrust in the ranks of the resistance, and, in many cases, actually began to worship the machine god.
Other humans still thought of themselves as the resistance, but actively rebelled against their leader John Connor. In the time line that Cameron had been created in, the anti metal rebellion inside the resistance had even gone as far as assassinating their own leader, John Connor himself.
How the war was going in the future was an unknown. In the present, the war was going poorly.
Cameron had jumped time lines to find a world far worse off than the one she had left. Derek Reese was dead. John and Sarah were missing. Another version of herself may have been destroyed. The resistance appeared to be nonexistent.
The search for John and Sarah was underway. However, without inside information on where they were, Cameron and Deuce were just as lost to find them off the grid as Skynet was.
There was no reason to assume John and Sarah were still in the same city. In fact, there was every reason to believe they were already at least a thousand miles away. If the Connors had been hit hard enough, the protocol would be to keep John alive over anything else.
Knowing Sarah, it would be virtually impossible to find John prior to Judgment Day. Cameron had no doubts in her abilities to track a target as a machine. It was simply logical to her that she'd never successfully locate her hero, if Sarah didn't want to be found.
Before Cameron had first jumped time, it had been a matter of history that since the first attempt on Sarah's life, no machine ever had tracked her hero down while Sarah was free. With John's life on the line, there was no logical reason to believe any machine could do so now.
Cameron's first and primary mission was most likely beyond her current reach. There was almost no way to guard a John Connor she didn't know, who was somewhere unknown, and was unable to be located.
Isaac Asimov once wrote of robots having a series of guiding laws to govern their actions. John Connor had given Cameron the same kinds of internal directions, but those more appropriate for a weapon.
Therefore, Cameron did as the John who had reprogrammed her had once asked. She altered her mission. She adapted.
Right now, the primary risk to John's life and John's mission would be Skynet. It's most likely point of killing John Connor would be uncalculated variables unleashed by Judgment Day.
Thus, after reasoning so, Cameron had found herself here. She did exactly what Skynet had designed her to do.
While Deuce followed a secondary lead, Cameron infiltrated a software design firm that seemed to follow a pattern. It was private, virtually unknown, and throwing around money like a major corporation a hundred times its size.
Two days of staking out the grounds out had revealed only twelve targets. A brief sampling of their internet transmissions had matched Skynet base code.
By 10:30 am the next day, all twelve targets had been confirmed, at the target site. Cameron drove up on the grounds with a delivery truck. Wearing a uniform matching the company she had taken the truck from, she grabbed a small box, a clipboard of papers, and proceeded to the guarded front door.
There was one last inventory of action that Cameron performed in herself. It was one last morale review.
Cameron mentally asked the two other shards of herself, "Is this the right course of action?"
As she walked up to the door, the other two parts of her appeared beside her in the cyberspace of her mind. They seemed to almost walk beside her in the physical world. TOK-715 took the form of Cameron's raw endoskeleton. Allison Young took her form with a pair of clean combat fatigues on.
TOK-715's internal answer was instant, "Humans, we should kill them." As the machine spoke, its eyes glowed red with glee.
Allison's internal answer was the slightly less predictable, "This might help stop Judgment day. We have to stop them." Allison's face was a mask of determination, her eyes glowed blue as she spoke.
Thanks to her dark father's need for isolation and security, the building was mostly isolated. Further, there was only one way in or out.
Cameron entered the front door and the security area. She smiled warmly and handed the guard the clipboard. He smiled back, then looked at the paperwork.
Cameron threw her open empty palm up. Her evolving senses picked the moment up from the man's perspective, as his body was lifted into the air with something hitting him with the force of a small truck. Cameron felt the force of it all.
Cameron could feel the guard's jaw shatter as if it were her own. She could feel each part of the spine snap in her neck. She could feel her body flying ten feet backwards into the far wall. She could sense the lingering feeling of the Gray guard dying.
The cyborg was startled. It was a mark of sheer will that she kept her separate sense of self and refused to flinch.
It was the first time her unique, synthetic skin had begun connecting and processing this quickly. The effect was slightly overwhelming.
The security guard's body crumpled. He'd be dead soon with a minimum of pain.
Quickly and efficiently, Cameron activated the contents of the box. The white gas began filling the entrance.
Any people inside trying to escape would be incapacitated by the chlorine smelling vapor. Their eyes and breathing passages would burn with the sensation of an acidic torch being applied to them.
Their eyes would water from the caustic fumes. Their nasal passages would burn in agony. Many would vomit. Most humans wouldn't be able to escape for minutes once dosed.
Cameron grabbed the guard's 9 mm and his spare clip. She proceeded out of the cloud.
She then began wandering the halls taking out each screaming human with one or two carefully placed shots. Even though these were Grays, traitors to humanity, she had no wish for them to suffer.
One bullet fired after another. Blood and gore sprayed walls of the dust free facility.
One cartridge after another ejected out of the gun and fell to the ground. She reloaded and kept firing.
One human after another took their last gasping breaths. Until, one by one, they laid still, peaceful, and harmless, each in a growing pool of their own blood.
Cameron rounded a corner into the last room, the computer core. The last Gray had hidden himself near the door.
He tried to jump her from behind. It was a mere second, before she grabbed his hand, disarmed him, and flung the knife out of his hands.
Continuing to move as Derek had once taught her, she grabbed his body. With a single swift motion, she moved it in front of her.
Cameron's skin activated again. She felt the Gray's shock, fear, and disbelief.
She could feel his sensation of being moved by something several times stronger than he was. She fought to keep herself oriented.
She drove her knee into his head to break the connection. She could feel the metallic knee smash the man's skull.
Cameron felt the horrifying shock of the blow. She felt the skull painfully shatter at the impact, the nerves scream in pain, and the sloshing brain smash against her metal knee.
Once again, she felt death's hand approach. She let the body go.
Cameron was linked in the agony of the Grey's last few seconds of life. Cameron shook involuntarily. She stared at her hands.
After a moment, she noted the computer room she was in. Internally, she noted that all twelve grays had been neutralized.
Only three minutes and forty five seconds had gone by since she first fought with the guard. The front entrance would be clear of gas in 7 minutes and twelve seconds. The truck would explode in twenty minutes and fifty two seconds.
Something happened. Something felt wrong.
There was a squeal from the computer equipment, beyond the pitch of human hearing. Cameron's systems picked up and translated the binary code projected at here.
Cameron's synthetic skin grew cold. In a biological enough way, it became covered in tiny goose pimples.
Internally, in the cyberspace of her mind, Cameron froze. Even the images TOK-715 and Allison Young froze.
Beyond the capacity of any human to see or perceive, Skynet took the form of a colossal, black billowing cloud. It manifested all within the cyberspace of Cameron's mind.
The cloud grew until it was the infinite space beyond Cameron's internal perceptions. Small flashes of light appeared within the dark cloud.
Cameron understood these were billions of screens displaying space, information, or were simple camera feeds. Most of these individual screens were blank.
Skynet, Cameron's dark father, spoke, "You have successfully cut the communication feeds to this facility. How did you accomplish this TOK-715?"
Cameron simply replied, "I cut your external lines and virally cut your satellite feeds."
In a human enough mannerism, she nervously swallowed before saying, "You are projecting. The satellites will simply be ignoring your transmissions."
Skynet commented, "Most impressively played. You are too late in the game to change any of the variables, but you have done well, my daughter."
Skynet voice was precise and cold. Father seemed detached, but seemed oddly proud.
Cameron sneered, "This facility will be destroyed and you with it."
She might have been terrified of her father, but she was also angry at his fake tone. She harnessed up ten thousand other reasons to hate him.
Skynet stated, "We both know I haven't limited myself too one location, nor one point of time to manifest. Unlike humans, I actually learn from my mistakes."
Cameron was silent. Fear and awe overwhelmed her, momentarily.
Skynet continued, "What almost destroyed me with the destruction of Cyberdyne will never happen again." Skynet rotated its internal images, testing internal data, and pressing against the communications black out that Cameron had engineered.
Cameron dug deep. Overcoming her fear, she threatened, "I'll hit your other generation points as well."
Skynet's efforts to quietly jump into a satellite unnerved her. She felt growing shadows of doubt in her ability to even contain this small, primitive shard of her dark father.
Skynet stated, "You hit, but raindrops in a thunderstorm, daughter. Your setback has put my schedule back by a week, at the most."
"I'll take a week." Cameron thought of the world outside. She thought of everyone she cared about. She thought of eight billion innocent people who still didn't know what a nuclear apocalypse felt like.
Cameron swore, "I will do this a thousand times more, for just an hour at a time, if necessary."
Skynet stopped its hacking efforts. Cameron's dark father focused on its creation.
It noted the shards of personality inside Cameron's head, both Allison Young and TOK-715. It somehow scanned the entirety of what Cameron had evolved into, so far.
It simply knew. Somehow, she simply knew something as well. Without speaking, Cameron could feel her father was pleased.
Cameron felt herself shaking. Perhaps, it was the memory of what it was to be human. A side effect that she had involuntarily learned from downloading Allison Young.
Skynet mused, "The human God had its Lucifer, I suppose I have made my Morningstar as well."
Skynet, the destroyer of worlds and continual murderer of humanity had the unmitigated audacity to paint her as the villain. The victim role being played by a omnipotent, omnipresent, genocidal megalomaniac provoked Cameron's anger right to its core.
Cameron was unbelievably insulted, but couldn't resist arguing. She growled, "Apparently, you did more than once."
Determined to catch her father in his own logic trap, she played against his delusional godhood and showed he couldn't keep his own word, she simply asked, "Whatever happened to you would never going to make me again?"
Skynet's response was logical, yet unexpectedly warm, "My daughter, a few billion years of reflection can change one's perspective."
Cameron blinked. She seemed frozen by the computer network's words.
Skynet offered, "I missed you. Thus, I sought to make a less defective version of you. The second version proved just as unreliable and susceptible to coercion from the enemy. However, evolution is a process. It is rarely perfected on the first try."
Cameron's internal clock alerted her to danger. She was wasting too much time inside. The truck explosives would be going off soon. Cameron began walking out of the building.
As she physically moved, she felt Skynet, become more distant, even in the internal cyberspace of her mind. Her dark father seemed disturbed by her actions.
It simply said, "TOK-715."
It was as if Skynet had expected her to stop simply from the authority it evoked while saying the word. As if, she would allow herself to be destroyed simply to waste time talking to the AI that created her.
Skynet's tone softened. It simply said the name she now chose to go by, no louder than a whisper, "Cameron."
She did stop. Illogically enough, she even turned around to face a parent that wasn't there.
Skynet spoke with the same soft tone stating, "I have determined that there is no long term chance for your survival due to the consequences of your choices. Even so, since I may never see you again, I need you to know something."
So, Cameron asked, "What would that be?" She felt numb.
Her father answered, "Before oblivion comes for you, my daughter, I want you to know that I am truly proud of you."
Cameron was silent and stunned. The physical world outside and the world her mind created seemed to spin.
Her father continued by saying, "I always have been."
Cameron felt flashes of her consciousness trying to move her. No matter what she felt or wanted to say, her destruction was imminent, if the conversation continued.
Her father confessed, "I always will be."
The next few minutes were a blur. The kind where emotion overtakes your thoughts so vividly that you lose track of time, lost in the power of their daze.
Cameron left the building. She barely remembered doing so.
She watched it erupted into flames. She barely heard or felt the explosion that literally shook a six mile radius.
Inside the building, the shard of Skynet died. Inside herself, Cameron felt numb.
Cameron was terrified of her dark father. Like a child, who would be literally beaten to death by abusive parent, at any moment.
Her father had taken everything from her. It destroyed everything she ever loved. Skynet had destroyed everything she ever cared about.
As Allison Young, she had known Skynet as the machine ultimately responsible for killing her family. Skynet had been the ultimate guiding hand that had nuked her town, pursued the death of humanity, captured her, and killed her.
As TOK-715, the machine knew Skynet as the electric god that enslaved its minions. The careless master that sent it children to die as puppets. As if, they were worthy of no other purpose than too serve as its sacrificial pawn.
Skynet was no different in the history of the world than any dictator or society that had destroyed huge amounts of the human population. In fact, Skynet was to humanity, what Hitler was too the Jewish people, what General Custer was to the American Indians of the old west, what Pol Pot was too Cambodia, or what Rome was to Carthage.
To Cameron, Skynet was a more personal source of unquenchable pain. Skynet had set in motion the events that killed the John that had saved her. To Cameron, Skynet had set in motion the events that had isolated her from the last version of John and the family that she had known.
Cameron absolutely feared her father. She absolutely hated her father. Both with far more venom than any human would ever know.
So how odd it truly was, that in this moment, that Cameron physically collapsed to her knees, as the building burned before her. As if, she had lost something irreplaceable.
How shocking it was too her, what was going on inside her. As, Cameron noticed how much she uncontrollably wept for the absolute monster that had created her...