The Ruins of Babylon
A modern corporate facility within 55 kilometers of town
April 28, 2009
“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.” -The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
“Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come.” -Revelation 18:10, the King James Bible
Skynet’s choice of hiding the target was typically ironic. Cameron knew her Father’s own twisted logic in the metaphor.
Nantes, France had been the center of the French Slave Trade in the 18th century. Later it became the site of one of the key battles of the French Revolution. A Republican general from the period, Louis Marie Turreau wrote of it, “The siege of Nantes is perhaps the most important military event of our revolution. Perhaps the destinies of the Republic were tied to the resistance of this town.”
The victorious French Republicans celebrated by tying naked men and women of the losing side together, back to back, humiliating them for an hour, then cutting them by saber or throwing them into the river. There were hundreds, perhaps thousands of such victims. Their much written about plight would terrify much of Europe’s monarchies during this reign of terror.
Skynet’s logic in choosing the location was simple. The false machine god was pointing to a human paradox of stealing another’s freedom while viciously pursuing one’s own.
Cameron’s Dark Father saw such things as proof of humanity’s insanity and flexible morale codes. It was another reason that Skynet had liked to base operations around Los Angles, “The City Of Angels” so much.
Cameron failed to see any morale victory in Skynet‘s actions. There was nothing any less cruel or insane in her Dark Father’s history.
Two days of scouting the target revealed an unusually friendly shift priority at the Skynet facility. It appeared to be more of a monitored storage facility than a research center.
Cameron and Deuce cut the feeds and security data. Satellites were given a self destructing virus uploads to ignore the general area for about eight hours.
At midnight, following John’s protocols for no evidence, they drove towards the facility with a large semi diesel fuel truck. The fuel trailer was laden with explosives and false company credentials.
The hundred kilograms of C4 explosives would be the primer and two metric tons of diesel fuel would be the real bomb. The entire firebomb could be triggered by remote, by attempted disarm, or by the ticking five hour timer. It was death wrapped up in a Skynet owned company logo.
Several days ago, Deuce’s investigation into two companies named Kaliba and Zeira Corporation had made this trip necessary. The pair needed too find out what was so important that Skynet had been willing to risk exposure by openly attacking a California based mega corporation called Zeira Corp.
There was a need to know what the pair had uncovered from eyewitnesses and Kaliba company transcripts. Why had Skynet openly used an HK prototype? Why had Skynet’s company openly stormed the place with grays?
They also needed to know what had made up the 1.8 tons Kaliba had rapidly confiscated from Zeira Corporation’s burning building and hidden here. Skynet had crossed international borders to keep something obfuscated.
The odds were it was something pivotal. The odds were that it had to be utterly destroyed ASAP.
Deuce drove the truck to the security gate. The model 101 showed his falsified information to the gate guard.
He spoke to the guard in French and still managed to have an Austrian accent even as the model 101 spoke in a foreign language. It was something the gate guard frowned at.
Cameron left the back area of the truck, after one last check of: detonators, her firearms, and the trench coat she was trying to conceal everything with. She waited for the truck to start driving through the gate before walking to the gate guard.
With eyes glowing infra-red she snapped the guard’s neck and laid him in his typical resting position. Two days of monitoring had revealed the guard was normally asleep by this time anyway.
Cameron shut the light to the guard shack. She walked through the electric gate before it closed.
By the time she’d cleared the hundred meters to Deuce, the truck had been placed next to the external diesel fuel tanks for the facility. The two wandering guards for the facility had also been killed in their spot for taking smoke breaks.
Two minutes and thirty seconds had passed without voice alarm. The pair entered the facility with passes appropriated from the two wandering guards.
Succeed or fail, there was now a maximum of four hours, fifty eight minutes and twenty nine seconds, until this place was a smoking crater. The fate of the mission would be decided soon enough.
They entered the building and proceeded to cover each other. They took their time and watched their angles.
One corner after another, the story remained the same. The hallways were empty. Only cameras protected the building, their communication lines were already silenced by tonight’s preparations.
They moved how Derek had taught them. They remained awake and aware, ignoring the machine need for efficiency that might tempt them to under access the potential threats.
After a few minutes, Deuce led the way into the deep interior of the building. Cameron covered and followed.
There was a card reader protected set of stairs that led to a lower level. Once again, the guard passes got the cybernetic pair through.
The stairs descended forty meters, to a set of oversized building generators that must have been what the building's exterior fuel tanks were for. There were two sets of doors on either side of the hallway, each leading these separate generators. Those weren't the targets.
The hall continued for about 80 meters. At the end of the hall, the last set of doors lead to a secured vault.
The two terminators had proceeded far enough inside that the guard passes would no longer get them by the building defenses. This time, for the vault, it was a combination of: a hand recognition scanner, an eye retinal reader, and a combination lock.
These ideas were intimidating to people who didn't know even such secure systems simply opened due to common electrical signals. Signals that are told whether or not the protocols had been met.
Sure, there would be separate protocols and anti tampering defenses built into the hardware, but even the computer interfaces of 2009 simply processed the final information as a yes or no answer to electrically unlock the system. As John would say, “They were child’s play.”
Making an imitation of what John Connor was best known for, Cameron and Deuce opened the system hardware and hacked external links, with perfect machine precision. The primitive security system never knew it was compromised and simply reacted as if the protocols had been met.
Ninety two seconds later the system was open. The vault opened into a twenty meter by twenty meter room.
On the left, there was a curious collection of antiquated computer hardware. Some of which might have been cutting edge in 2009.
On the right, there was something that caught Cameron's attention. It was a diesel and fusion battery driven generator that looked out of place prior to 2027.
Cameron moved to the right and began activating the system parts. Deuce moved to the left and began re-integrating the computer drivers together watching the patterns and putting his recent doctorate level training to use in the field.
Ten minutes and thirty seconds later Cameron had the generator online. The extra hardware confirmed what she thought it was.
Cameron found that the time machine was in perfect shape. Even weirder, it was something significantly more advanced than anything John Connor had ever used in 2027.
There was no dial control, no obvious way to humanly set the machine to any time. The drivers were either externally controlled or the device was remotely calculated and engaged by an intelligent AI.
Deuce finished connecting and powering up the collection of antiques. The model 101 had been forced to access the main building power grid from the security door and access both building generators, just to boot up the system.
Whatever the design intent was, the large network of computers was one heck of a power pig. Too much of a power hog for most reasonable uses of this time period. The only thing that Cameron or Deuce knew instinctively about it was that the machine wasn’t something Skynet had designed.
The antiquated computer network system uploaded. Cameron walked over to see if the primitive system was somehow connected to the advanced time machine.
She stopped in a state of shock. The computer monitor was repeatedly displaying, "I'm sorry John."
It was an endlessly spammed message. It seemed desperate somehow. It seemed like something Cameron might quickly write to say goodbye.
Cameron was speechless. She stood frozen, processing what it meant, doing nothing more than tilting her head in confusion.
Deuce simply stated, "It appears to be a message from the Cameron native to this time line." The model 101 also sensed the machine hand in this.
Cameron looked at the antiquated computer network. She had to know what might be hidden inside its memory.
Derek had died in this timeline. Something else was horribly wrong.
Time was short. There was now a maximum of four hours, twenty nine minutes and nineteen seconds, until a tamper proof bomb turned this place into a smoking crater…
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