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 TSCC :: Terminator Series :: TSCC

TSCC :: Terminator Series :: TSCC

Cameron was sitting on John's bed, back straight and was painting her nails while he hacked his way into the T-888's computer chip, trying to decipher to codes and videos without damaging the files anymore than they already were. He was waiting for another code to run through his program with near impatience as he glanced over at the Terminator sitting on his bed casually.

As he watched her, he could almost forget that she wasn't human like the rest of them. That she was a teenager, just like him, trying to stop the world from being taken over by murderous machines. But that's the thing, isn't it—Cameron was a machine. She had been one of those machines before his future self reprogrammed her and had her fighting on their side.

“What are you doing?”

Cameron looked up at him, but instead of responding she simply held out her hand to show him her pink nails and John shook his head. A Terminator with pink nails?

“Is that part of your infiltration program? To paint your nails so you could look more normal?”

Cameron studied him momentarily, processing the numerous responses she could say to him to ease his discomfort, including that she wasn't currently running her infiltration program at the moment. But Cameron immediately dismissed that response, that response would most likely alarm him more than calm him.

It took the Terminator a little less than five seconds to speak, “Yes. To be more efficient.”

John rolled his eyes slightly, almost as if he regretted asking but his curiosity always got the better of him, and it often outweighed his caution, “Efficient? Is that all there is to you Terminator's? Efficiency?”

Again, Cameron considered her response but it took her less time to answer, edging on the side of caution, “Of course. Efficiency delivers the best results.”

John scoffed when it was apparent that Cameron wasn't going to say much else, and he wasn't sure if he actually wanted her to either. Ever since he was young enough to understand his mother—they've always believed that Terminator's didn't have a personality. They could look as human as they wanted. But they could never properly act like one. And that was always something that humans had on the machines.

Now with machine's like Cameron...it made John really wonder just how advanced Skynet was in the future and if humanity really had a real shot at winning the war that hasn't even happened yet.

John shook away those thoughts, knowing that his mother would put him through the ringer for even thinking about it.

“Does this efficiency bullshit include making Morris pretend to be me in front of a cop, no matter what would happen to him?”

“Yes. It was something I had to do.

Cameron looked at John, head tilting slightly as if he was asking a series of dumb questions and she was trying to see his point behind it all. Maybe Sarah was right, maybe these robots will never value life. Specifically human life.

“Of course it was. Cameron, Jesus, you can't just...” he stopped, and calmed himself before he blew up at the unrelenting machine in his room who was still painting her nails as if they were talking about school gossip and not people's lives. “Maybe that cop was gonna ask about that girl that jumped—”

“It wasn't a cop.” she stated monotonously, she looked up again staring at him with that look that was just a tad too intense to be on a machine, “It was Cromartie.”

“What? Wait, what?!”

“He's going school to school looking for you. Trying to match your face,” Cameron paused, watching John put his head down on his desk, “He's moved on though. He won't go back there. I wouldn't.” she could see that John was still worried and she kept quiet, sensing that saying anything more would further distress the teenager.

John turned back to her, eyes accusing, “Why? Not efficient to double check?” Cameron didn't say anything, she just stared at him and John just shook his head, “The only way that I'm reassured by that is that in the core of your chip...you're just like him. God, she'll move us so fast you can not tell her, okay?”

Cameron knew who John was referring to. The woman in question was coming down hallway.

“Promise me.” he demanded softly, but Cameron still remained quiet—but before he could make her swear to secrecy, knowing that he shouldn't encourage Cameron to further lie and keep secrets from them, his mother walked in looking between the two of them suspiciously.

“Hey. What are you guys talking about?”

John glanced at Cameron, but the Terminator was already on her feet and walking around Sarah and leaving the two humans alone to talk.

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The entire Connor household was asleep and Cameron was outside standing on the porch, leaning against the pillar and looking out at the empty street. The crispy night air didn't bother her too much but it felt...nice. Cameron let her mask of oblivion fall at night. She knew that if she showed even a hint of her true self, the humans would fear and distrust her even more and that was not good for her mission. Her true mission.

Cameron straightened her posture before the front door opened and Sarah stepped out onto the porch, “What are you doing out here?”

Cameron turned around to face the dark haired woman, “Making sure the streets are clear. Why aren't you sleeping?”

Sarah dodged the question as Cameron suspected she would, she was used to the woman brushing off her questions, “Don't stay out here too long, Tin Man. Don't want the neighbors thinkin' I kicked you or something.”

“All of our neighbors are asleep.”

Sarah gave Cameron one of her looks, the type of look that held a certain amount of venom followed by a smirk that something sarcastic was coming Cameron's way but Sarah was too tired to even try to insult Cameron, “Just don't stay out here too long.”

Cameron watched John's mother walk back into the house, or at least she was but something stopped her. Sarah turned back around to face Cameron again, eyes narrowed, “What was John making you promise earlier?”

Cameron recalled the moment three hours and forty-seven seconds ago quickly, her processors contemplating her answer. Cameron takes a deep breath, something she does not necessarily need to do—but she's grown accustomed to doing it. It...relaxes her core when it gets too high-strung.

Sarah noticed the movement, but of course she did, she was watching Cameron like a hawk and stepped closer, lowering her voice, “Should I be worried, Cameron?”

“Worried? No. Relieved? Yes.”

Sarah's jaw clenched, and Cameron pondered if the woman would push the subject. She did. Cameron wasn't surprised. “Cameron.”

The Terminator turned back around, assuming her post once more before she recited the days events to Sarah.

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Sarah was in quite the mood the very next morning. She was awake before Derek and John and she was sipping on a piping hot cup of black coffee by the time they entered the kitchen. As usual, Derek didn't notice anything and didn't say anything to either of them, especially Cameron, as he went to the breakfast table to fix himself a bowl of cereal.

It wasn't until John walked in and took one look at Cameron to know that she wasn't going to school today, “Mom? What's going on?”

Sarah settled him with a glare that he knew all too well, and he looked between her and Cameron cautiously, “Cameron and I are going to settle this Cromartie thing for good.”

John looked, glared, at Cameron and yelled at her accusingly, “What?! You promised that you wouldn't tell her!”

“Fuckin' machines. Can't trust 'em.” Derek mumbled.

“Hey,” Sarah cut them both off, “We'll be discussing this later, John. You should've never tried to make Cameron promise to keep this a secret. It was dangerous and stupid.”

“Are you serious?! It was my decision! Cromartie moved on, she said so herself and she's my Terminator—”

“I'm not.” Cameron stated calmly, flatly as she put her 9MM in her thigh holster.

“Not what?” John asked after a beat of silence when Cameron didn't immediately elaborate.

“Your Terminator. I'm not your Terminator. I am a Terminator.”

Everyone stared at her, and but John wasn't quite grasping what Cameron was saying and he suddenly lost his appetite, “Didn't I send you back in time to protect me?”

Cameron sighed heavily, again out of habit rather than necessity, “I was sent back upon my own request to stop Skynet.” she revealed after another beat of silence, aware that everyone was looking at her now, Derek's eyes holding more mistrust and hatred, “Helping to keep you alive is just one of my mission parameters.”

John scoffed, her wording not lost on any of them, “So you don't care if I live or die?”

Derek rolled his eyes, “It's a machine John. Not a person. They don't care about shit. They lie, they kill. That's all they're good for.”

“Likewise. The only difference between us and you, Derek, is that I am not fragile.” Cameron replied coolly.

“What the fuck did you just say to me?” he pushed away from the table threateningly despite knowing that despite her appearance, Cameron could and would put him on his ass—through the floor.

“We should go.” Cameron glanced at Sarah, before turning and leaving the room in complete chaos.

Derek looked at Sarah, “You can't trust that fucking machine, Sarah. It's gonna us all killed.”

Sarah looked at her son who refused to look up from the table, she knew he was angry—it was rolling of him in waves. She didn't have time to deal with it, she would talk to him after she and Cameron deal with Cromartie. Sarah looked back to Derek, “Watch him today.” was all she said before picking up her shotgun from the counter and following Cameron out of the house.

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The silence in the Jeep as Cameron drove them to the next town that was like an hour away—give or take traffic. It housed three high schools where Cromartie was likely to be prowling for the day. Sarah was watching the Terminator from the corner of her eye, replaying Cameron's revelation over and over in her head.

I'm not your Terminator. I am a Terminator.

Sarah had no real way of interpreting what that meant. She didn't want to. She's heard the stories of rogue Terminator's in the future from Derek. The Terminator's that defected from Skynet but wouldn't get in the middle of the war or operated on their own to stop Skynet but wouldn't join humanity.

Derek didn't dwell too much on the topic. The discussion Terminator's that were so self aware that they've defected from their creator would be uncomfortable for anyone with common sense. Deep down, Sarah was aware that Cameron might have been more different and capable than she let on—and it was starting to become clearer and clearer. The fact that this Terminator was still able to deceive them all so easily didn't sit well with Sarah.

But how uncomfortable could she have been if she was willingly alone with this machine? This Terminator by the name of Cameron.

How uncomfortable could she have truly been if she still did not trust Derek's word? He's lied to her too, not nearly as much as Cameron apparently. So why couldn't she hold Cameron to the same regard? Because she's saved her life more than she put them in shitty situations like Derek seemed to do? It took every ounce of self control for Sarah to keep from punching the dashboard in frustration. And irritatingly enough, it seemed that Cameron was all too aware of her mood.

“You want answers.” it was a flat statement rather than a question.

“Fuckin' right I do. After we take care of Cromartie, you and I are gonna have a talk, girlie.”

Cameron nodded silently, seemingly dropping all pretenses that she was just a simple killing machine. She looked the same, but there were subtle differences Sarah could tell. It was unnerving so she decided to look out the window instead and pushed those thoughts far from her mind to focus on their mission at hand.

Ten minutes passed before Cameron pulled into the parking lot of the first school, just in time for first second or third period to start. Cameron cut the Jeep's engine and the two sat in the parking lot with a clear view of the front door.

“Five minutes in and out. What's this kids name?”

“John Sanchez.”

“And you're sure that Cromartie is going around looking for students named John?”

“New students named John.” Cameron corrected, still staring straight ahead as she handed something to Sarah which the woman took gratefully, knowing what it was, “It is something I would do.”

Sarah swallowed her response and simply got out of the car, reluctantly leaving the shotgun in the car. It wouldn't look right for her to be wearing a business suit carrying a pump action shotgun. “Five minutes.”

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John looked over at his Uncle warily, “If mom finds out I skipped school, she's gonna blow her lid.”

Derek shrugged, pulling into the parking lot of the local mall, “She's out playin' cop with the robot. What she don't know won't kill her.” John shook his head at his Uncle, not bothering to correct him, “The thing said it was long gone,” he handed over a 100 dollar bill to his nephew, “Just have a blast, John. Take a break.”

John sighed and took the money reluctantly, but he couldn't really deny the slight feel of excitement of hitting the arcade that he knew was inside of the mall. The one Sarah really never let him go to because it was too dangerous and John needed to maintain a low profile. He understood his mothers paranoia, he did, but John was the leader of all humanity someday.

The arcade attendant looked at John as if he'd grown a second head when the teenager handed over the single bill, asking for in quarters and the rest in dollars.

John had a vague idea of where his Uncle was, down in the food courts stuffing his face more than likely. John looked around the arcade for anyone that might've stuck out to him like a sore thumb but he drew blank. No one knew who he was or even cared so he allowed himself to relax and enjoy his 8 hour day off.

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Cameron saw Sarah jogging out of the school back towards the Jeep. The womans face was guarded as always, but even from a distance, Cameron saw the mild panic in her intense green eyes. By the time Sarah got to the Jeep, Cameron had the engine roaring.

“Head back to town, Cameron. Now! Cromartie never left!”

Cameron didn't ask questions, knowing that Sarah would explain on the way. She remained quiet as the human climbed into the backseat to change into her 'work' clothes. As curious as she was, Cameron kept her focus on the highway as she was weaving in and out of traffic, doing nearly 80.

“I spoke to the receptionist,” Sarah growled as she plopped back down into the passengers seat, pulling down her shirt, “She said some FBI Agent named Kester called asking about new male students in general. Not just named John!”

Cameron's system frozen momentarily, doing her own scan of the school system she and John attended—and pressed her foot down harder on the gas, and Sarah noticed, “There is a new student that fits John's description. He is also new, his name is Chad O'Connor. He is a delinquent and frequently skips school.”

“And...?” Sarah pressed impatiently, her heart about to beat out of her chest—afraid that Cameron was about confirm what she had been implying.

“He skipped school yesterday. He frequently hangs around the skate park, the mall and the strip. I suggest that you call Derek Reese.”

“What the hell do you think I'm doing Tin Man?! He's not picking up, I sent him a text instead. John's not picking up either! Fuck!

“I apologize for my miscalculation.”

Sarah growled, rubbing her forehead heavily, “Just...shut up. Shut up, shut up, shut up.”

Cameron pressed her lips tightly, and sped up using the shoulder to do another illegal pass.

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A carefully dressed man with immaculate hair scanned the rowdy crowd moving around him, as if the humans had enough self preservation not to touch him and but as his eyes scanned every face that passed by him. None of them were his primary target. He stopped a teenager that was in the age range of John Connor and held up the boys school picture.

“Excuse me, have you seen this boy?”

The young teen in question blinked owlishly at him before finally looking at the picture, “N-nah dude, but...you can check over there?” he pointed behind him and scurried off before the tall man could ask him anymore questions.

Cromartie watched the teenager run away before looking in the direction he pointed in and headed over. He made his way through the crowd and into the sectioned area. Cromartie looked around carefully before heading towards the front desk, once again holding up the picture in his hand along with his badge.

“Excuse me, have you seen this boy?”

The girl behind the front desk was startled and her vitals rocketed when she looked into the FBI Agent's cold blue eyes, and Cromartie had to repeat himself with a tad bit of impatience, “This boy, have you seen him?”

“Um...um, yeah...he came in like a while ago?”

“I see,” The Agent's eyes brightened at this information, “And is he still here?”

The girl nodded jerkily, taking a half step back when Cromartie unbuttoned his jacket, “I...yeah, he bought like 50 bucks worth of tokens. He should be way in the back.”

Cromartie smiled at her and put the picture away, and straightened his posture, “Thank you for your cooperation.”

Cromartie walked away from the front desk and through the arcade.

Across the court in the foodcourt...

Derek was working his way through his second burger when the familiar sound of three rounds from a 9MM being shot off had everyone running in a panic. He powered through his frozen veins and the crowd of screaming people looking for an exit. He had to fight his way to get the arcade, he had to see if John was okay.

Derek had no way of knowing where those gunshots originated from but he had to make sure his nephew was okay. From the corner of his eye, Derek spotted a man in a pressed navy blue suit calmly walking through the crowd that was parting like the red sea for him. But it was only a glimpse. The future resistance soldier nearly tripped over his feet as he tore through the arcade isles.

Not realizing that he had been screaming John's name the entire time until he could no more. Until the name seized in his throat, depriving him of oxygen that had him falling into his nephews side, pressing against the two holes in his chest in vain as he stared at the one between his distant green eyes that were now staring right through him.

TSCC :: Terminator Series :: TSCC

  TSCC :: Terminator Series :: TSCC