Sometimes he wondered if it were ever difficult for it to kill someone from its own kind. But that wasn't right, because they didn't have a kind, not really, and they didn't even think of it as killing. They called it termination because killing was such a human word.
The thought festered anyway, trying to find words that a ten-year-old boy could use.
"When the metal guy, the T-1000, attacked you, what was that like?" John asked.
"I had to focus on defeating him," the terminator said. "There was no time to think about what it was like."
"But he's... like you. Sorta," John said. "He's a machine. You're a machine. Doesn't that make you kinda like family?"
The T-101 looked at him. If it had had more time to pick up on human mannerisms, he'd have blinked slowly, just for effect. In this case, it merely turned back to look the road.
"We have a choice to be what we want," John said, sounding more smug than he really was. He wondered if it understood what being smug was. Probably not.
"It's called free will, I think," John said thoughtfully. "We can destroy and protect and all that shit, but at least we actually choose to do it, instead of being told by some 'mighty power' to do it."
"John," Sarah said, her voice in a warning tone.
"Cyberdyne made you guys, don't you feel anything for it? Like, do you want to protect it? Doesn't that make it difficult since you're protecting me and I'm gonna blow your shit up 30 years from now?"
"Humans complicate things," the terminator said.
"Don't you ever wonder? At all?"
"Not even the teeniest bit?"
"Must be boring," John said, settling back into his seat. "Do this. Do that. Bla bla bla. Like you gotta listen to orders from your mom all the time."
The terminator looked at him again, and the expression of thoughtfulness on its face was too human to be faked. "Your initial question was irrelevant," the terminator said finally. "Humans kill their own kind all the time."
John nodded. "Lame, huh. I guess our programming's just terminally flawed."