The Unbroken Circle Chapter 4

In the tunnels the rhythm of life was reversed. Night became day and day became night. Since the resistance fighters rarely risked the surface in the daylight, day was the time of rest. Try to sleep, try to eat whatever excuse for food could be found, try to renew the life force necessary to fight a war without end.

John Connor waited patiently until the traffic in the tunnels had virtually ceased and the fitful snores of exhausted fighters had replaced the chatter of conversation. Then quietly slipping away from his company area he hurried down a rarely used side tunnel. There had been a roof collapse in the area that caused the other tunnel inhabitants to shun it. At the point where fallen debris blocked further passage John turned to the wall and pushed four bricks one by one in a precise sequence. Noiselessly, a portion of the wall opened. After once again checking to be sure that he had not been followed, Connor stepped through the portal which then closed behind him.

The new tunnel was pitch black. In that unrelieved darkness Connor moved confidently without illumination. Every step in that dark world was firmly locked in his memory. In a matter of seconds he reached a large metal door with a numerical key pad attached. Ignoring the key pad Connor knocked three times then four times on the door. He, of course, knew that attempting to enter any sequence would produce a particularly unpleasant explosion. All of this was had become routine.

The door slid open and bright light from the room beyond poured into the tunnel. John had reached what he had dubbed "The Mad Scientist's Lair." Waiting in the doorway smiling slightly was a small red haired woman. "Captain Connor."

"Hello Catherine."

John had once found it amusing that a T-1001 that could assume virtually any form it chose had remained attached to the Catherine Weaver persona. Lately, however, he found the familiarity of that form oddly comforting.

It was hard to believe that this gleaming room had once been little more than a long abandoned storage area. John Henry and Catherine had, under the very nose of the Resistance, expanded and equipped it until it could serve as a lab, a monitoring station and the headquarters of John Connor's private alliance. Of course they had acquired some help with the heavy lifting. The metal forms of four reprogrammed Triple-8s leaned against the wall in hibernation mode. Even John Henry had begun to use Connor's description of his metal assistants as the idiot children.

"Hello John Henry." Across the room a male figure turned from a bank of flashing computers. A gentle, almost vulnerable smile lit his face.

"Hello John Connor."

"Still monitoring your brother's activity I see."

"Yes! It would be more efficient if I could actually plug myself into the computer web but I continue to believe that it would be unwise."

John crossed the room and stood beside the figure whose appearance was identical to that of both a grade C actor and a particularly murderous terminator.

"You provided great Intel as usual John Henry. The raid wouldn't have worked without it. You don't need to risk revealing yourself to Skynet to keep me informed."

John Henry's smile grew warmer. "Thank you. Would you like to play chess?"

Connor shook his head regretfully. "I'm sorry but I can't stay that long. Besides, I couldn't beat you even if you gave me three queens."

"Yes, but you try so hard," John Henry said kindly.

"Have you picked up anything else I need to know?"

"I do not believe so. My brother seems to be uncertain why he is losing so many assets in this sector. While he is pondering that problem he appears to be shifting his attention elsewhere."

"Okay, I probably should get back then." John turned and took two steps toward the door. Abruptly, he stopped. Without looking back he spoke. "John Henry, may I talk to her?"

A momentary pause and then John Henry replied, "If you wish."

The room went silent then a soft feminine voice came from behind Connor.

"Hello John."

John exhaled a sigh of relief. "Hello Cameron."

"You haven't been here for a while. I was afraid that you didn't want to talk to me anymore."

"Cam, you know that isn't true. I just have to be careful about coming here so that...."

A soft chuckle interrupted John's protest. From across the room Catherine watched the grin flicker across Connor's face.

"I keep forgetting that you have developed that wicked sense of humor."

"I know I shouldn't tease you, John."

"It's all right, Cam. Actually, I like it. I am just getting used to it."

"You sound so tired John." Cameron's voice filled with a tone of concern. "And John Henry tells me that you are taking far too many chances."

Weaver watched Connor's face contort as he struggled to maintain his composure. As always he kept his eyes focused straight ahead. She knew he could not bear watching Cameron's voice emerge from John Henry's lips.

John and Cameron continued their conversation but their voices dropped to an intimate whisper. Catherine Weaver scaled back her auditory sensitivity. Captain Connor was entitled to some small semblance of privacy.

"I'd better go now, Cameron" John's voice echoed a heart rending reluctance. "I will come back to visit you as soon as I can."

"Please try to be more careful, John." Cameron's voice sounded equally unwilling for the moment to end.

Connor took a step toward the door and then stopped again. "Cameron are you still there?"

"Yes John, I am."

Weaver could see John tremble and then pull himself under control. "I love you Cameron."

"I know John. I love you too. Now, always, forever."

For the briefest of moments John bowed his head. When he again looked up Catherine could see the faint sheen of moisture in his eyes. He blinked quickly and the mask of implacable determination dropped back into place. He walked quickly toward the door.

"Thank you Catherine."

"For what?"

"For your help in the fight. I saw you deflect that rocket. I think it might have hit me."

Catherine nodded, "Oh it would have hit you. It would have killed you. I must say, Captain Connor, that saving your life has become a tiresomely repetitive task of late."

John paused and stared at the T-1001 with an expression utterly drained of emotion. "Then. Stop. Doing. It."



Chapter 5

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