As a kid I grew up watching the Bionic Woman and the Six Million Dollar Man. Sci-Fi shows about humans who died or came awfully close but were brought back from the brink thanks to robotics. Prosthetic limbs, eyes, ears, and lots of other stuff that made these damaged people better. The human robot hybrids used their newfound powers for good. Week after week plunging themselves into danger just to save the regular humans.
I used to dream of having their strengths and abilities. Imagining how cool it would be to eavesdrop on conversations in the house next door, jump off buildings like Wonder Woman, or just climb up a tree and hang there, using my super hearing and vision to enjoy drive in movies for free. And in my spare time I could save the world. Who wouldn't want to do all that?
Robots were good. They didn't seek to destroy. They had no intelligence on their own. They needed us. We used them but we didn't need them. Free will was something they couldn't define much less possess. Only we could have that.
All that changed in 1984. I had no choice but to give up the fantasy and see the machines for what they really were. Horrific nightmares. The kind who don't eat, sleep, or experience pain. They have only one purpose, the unyielding drive to kill and complete their mission at any cost.
"The Other Kind. T.O.K for easy reference." Cameron's words echo inside my skull. It is times like these when I have no doubt of the metal and wires beneath her skin. No one else could utter those words without being affected by the magnitude of their deeper meaning. The future machines don't even think of mankind as human. To them there is only one species worthy of surviving on this planet. Them.
The other kind refers to everything and everyone who is not a cyborg. In their glowing red eyes I am no different than a maggot. Just a moving mass which needs to be destroyed.
Cameron is caught somewhere in the space between. Her origins are terminator, but she is tainted. Not just from Future John's tampering with her chip. Actually that could most likely be undone. What makes her less than all the other cyborgs (in their eyes) is because of how she was created and what she is made of.
The machines broke the mold after Cameron. There would never be another terminator so closely modeled after a particular human. Memories would not be implanted onto a chip. There would still be infiltrators but they would not be able to emote. They could not learn, reason, accept, and adapt.
Cameron's biggest accomplishments also serving as her downfall. Were it not for John's intervention she would have been terminated. An experiment so successful it was a complete failure. Too much like The Other Kind.
The absurdity makes laughter bubble in my chest. The way Cameron describes it I can only think of Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer being snubbed by the other sleigh pullers because of the glowing nose. In this case it was Cameron being snubbed by her fellow terminators because of her burgeoning emotions and free will.
"I have just told you something which makes me unhappy." Cameron's lower lip sticks out. Her expression is unsure. "I do not understand why that brings a smile to your lips."
They never let poor Cameron join in any killing games. I shake my head to clear the disturbing lyrics from my brain. "I don't know why exactly. Smiling doesn't always equate to happy."
She looks just as confused as before. "Thank you for explaining."
"Can the sarcasm. If I could explain it better I would."
Her face softens. Strangely her expression reminds me of John's when he was younger and trying to get a theory to make sense in his head. "Is this like cough and though?"
It's my turn to look confused. "Is what like cough and though? Are you glitching again?"
"Cough and though are spelled almost the same but pronounced differently. There is no particular rule to explain it. On the contrary it is an exception to the rule. Some would say it is what proves the rule."
"I'd say it is what proves you can give me a headache like nothing and no one else can." I complain as I rub my now throbbing temples. Terminator brain overload. "Stop playing the Riddler and make some sense."
"Smiling at inappropriate times is not explainable. Just as the different pronunciations for words like cough and though are not explainable. They just are."
She's trying, I remind myself. "That's one way of looking at it, I guess. So, you're a TOK-715. I get the TOK part now, but what's the 715 part mean?
"I don't know."
"Don't shine me on, girlie."
"I am not. I wouldn't. Full disclosure. As you wish."
I sigh. There is no way for me to be sure she means it. The need to yawn can no longer be suppressed. "Weaver kept me in a coma for three weeks. You'd think I'd be past the point of needing sleep."
"There are many reasons why humans require sleep. It is not simply because you are tired. Sleep allows the brain to process large amounts of information. It reduces stress, provides-"
I wave away her explanations. "I'm passed the point of caring. I'm gonna crash for a little bit."
"Do you want me to go patrol?"
"No." I pull the covers back. I remove my boots but leave the rest of my clothes on.
"Shall I ask Weaver to provide me a room nearby?"
I shake my head before I recline on the bed. I draw the covers up and curl on my side. My eyelids weigh twice as much as usual. Each time I close them to blink it takes longer and longer for me to open them again.
I watch as Cameron shifts her weight from foot to foot like a nervous child. It is rare to see her so vulnerable. "Do you want me to leave?"
I grab the extra pillow and half heartedly toss it at her head. "I want you to shut up and let me sleep, but I don't want you to go."
A smile tugs at the corner of her mouth. "You want me to stay?"
"Yes, Cameron. Stay."
"Does this mean you trust me again?"
"Don't press your luck." I mumble against the pillow. "Wake me at six."
Cameron stands near the window. Her back is no longer rigid. She looks relaxed. Just a pretty girl standing in the warm rays of the sun. Her lips hinting at a smile. Black jeans snug from low on her hips to the tops of her Silver studded boots. A thigh holster holding a gun with a scope. Her sleeveless purple shirt and a shoulder holster covering her top half. Long curly hair carelessly blowing and bouncing across her taut shoulders.
The image halts my breath a moment. There's a nagging feeling poking at the back of my mind. Seeing her shouldn't stir my desires. I should be pissed off. I don't want to be. I want to lose myself in her.
"We don't have much time, Sarah."
"We never do." I sit up and run my fingers through my sleep tangled hair. It's not as good as a brush but it will have to do. "Where'd you get the holsters? That isn't your style."
She looks like I just told her she's wearing last seasons hand me downs. "You don't like it?"
"I didn't say that." On the contrary I like it very much. I crook my finger in her direction. "C'mere, Cameron."
"You look..." she pauses a couple feet from me. Inquisitive eyes looking me over. "Hungry." she says at last.
I duck my head to hide the quickening of hot blood racing to my face. "That's probably because I am." I reach for her hand and pull her to me just as I stand. Our lips meet. It feels sweetly familiar. I know all the ways we fit together. Her arms around my waist. Mine around her neck and shoulders. The pressure of her lips on mine. Everywhere her fingers touch sends a warm rush of goosebumps spreading outward.
I press against her and deepen the kiss. She slides her hands up over the tank top covering my ribs and chest. Then her hands start the slow trek down my arms. She squeezes my hips, her long fingers grazing the skin just above my belt. I shiver. My hands wrap around her arms. She feels strong. In her arms I lose my fears. If only for a moment. She feels... right.
"Wake up, Sarah." Cameron's voice cuts through the fog. "It's six o'clock."
I shake my head to clear the hot images from my mind. It doesn't do me much good since I am still holding her hand. "What the hell, Cameron?" I drop her hand and glare at her.
"What? You called out my name. When I came over you took my hand. What was I supposed to do?"
"Just back off." I order her as I sit up. When I get a better look at her I see she is wearing exactly what I dreamed. At some point I must have woken up and seen her. Then drifted off with the sight of her lingering. Lingering and inspiring. Shit.
"Why did you call my name?"
I want to continue glaring at her but it is hard to do that when you're blushing. "It doesn't matter."
"It does to me."
"Just keep your distance when I'm sleeping. I don't want to wake up and finding you spooning me."
"Spooning you?" Her eyes shift so she's looking up and to the left as if deep in thought. "Oh." She draws out the word. Her lips twitch in a smile. "You were having a wet dream about me."
"Cameron." I ground out the word. "Make yourself useful and go get me some coffee while I shower."
"I hope it is a cold one. I understand that helps to relieve sexual ten-"
"Go." I yell at her. "Now."
Either Kim or Weaver has a particular taste for combat attire. I liked it on Cameron. I'm not sure how much I like it me. It doesn't matter though. It is practical and serves a purpose. And thankfully not camouflage.
I am fighting with the many velcro closures of the bullet proof vest when Cameron returns. It is not often I hear Cameron Sigh or inhale deeply but she takes one look at me and does just that. Her eyes widen. A smile teases the corners of her mouth.
"You okay?" I ask.
She doesn't reply right away. She turns her back to me and sets the tray down on the table near the dresser. I catch her eye in the mirror above the dresser.
It could be that we are in Weaver's lair and there's far too much metal and chrome around. Or maybe it is all the secrets she revealed to me yesterday. For some reason I start to question her fitness. My hand shifts until my fingers caress the butt of the gun in my thigh holster. "Talk to me, Cam."
"We are wearing similar clothes." She glances down, smoothing a hand over her midsection and hip. "And yet, on you. I..." Her eyes narrow and her lips purse. "There is something different. If you are seeing the same thing when you look at me then... Then I do not know."
"You're talking weird. It's all jerky like you're glitching. Should I be worried?"
"No. I believe I should be worried. You wreck me, Sarah. In order to fight the Skynet directives and process and adapt to things as they happen I have to concentrate on interpretations, reactions, and replies. Normally this does not create a problem. Then I see you. Especially you in these clothes with the weapons and kevlar. I, I do not... I have no words for this."
Damn. That was better than the scary sweet declaration that I was her happy meal.
I grab a piece of toast from the tray she carried. I need a distraction. I finish the toast and my first cup of coffee. I'm pouring the second when I realize she hasn't moved. Well, her body hasn't. Her eyes have been tracking my every move. "What's the matter?"
"I wish I could sleep."
"Oh, you're tired. That makes sense. Maybe with everything you're processing you do need to sleep or go into rest mode. You know, like when the screensaver pops up on John's computer. Same thing, I bet."
She shakes her head. "I am not tired. I want to dream about you like you dreamed about me this morning. You were smiling as you slept. Sounds I at first thought were signs of distress soon became more distinct as sounds of pleasure. You were aroused. Just as I am now."
I am saved from having to reply to that when the intercom next to the door buzzes. The plasma screen flicks on. John Henry's bland face comes into view. "Good morning, Sarah." He tilts his head to regard Cameron. "You look troubled, Cameron. Are you experiencing complications with your new chip?"
"The chip is fine. I am having complications with Sarah. She distracts me."
"T.M.I., Cameron." I snap my fingers to get John Henry's attention back on me. "What do you want?"
"Miss Weaver tasked me with finding a location for Jesse and Derek. Jesse remains off the grid. Derek did briefly surface. I tracked him through surveillance. I can provide you his location."
Who'd have thought I'd view a possible life or death confrontation with Derek as less confusing and dangerous than sharing the day listening to Cameron's truth vomit.