In the distance from his perch way up in the bones of an ancient skyscraper, Corporal Decker somehow heard the faint whimpering cries of a dog below. Before a barking dog wasn’t something that he would have concerned himself with, but to the Corporal and the rest of the survivors a dog was a godsend. It was man’s best friend and metal’s worst enemy. Right now though finding the cause of the dog’s wails was what was most important to him.
Decker compressed his body down against the steel beam as close as he could get. He swung the rifle off of his back and directly ahead of him. Bipods clanked against the cold steel surface as he set up. With a deft hand he chambered the round into the rifle and brought the scope to bear. He’d seen these bullets take down an HK before and he hoped that they were just as effective against the tin cans. Since they exploded on impact there was no doubt in his mind that they would. A head shot would be all that he needed – preferably right against the CPU port.
Through the night vision scope he focused his attention on Hammerhead. Captain Vance was hastily cleaning up after himself behind the remains of the building. There was no sign of Fahey but from this angle he wouldn’t be able to see him anyway. The metal shutters – makeshift blast doors – were still down around the small outpost preventing him from seeing in on this side of the building (high among the remains of the building though that would have been unlikely anyway). There were no sounds of firing or metal bastards killing anyone; though, that meant nothing. In the past the machines had been shown to live and operate at incredible speeds. Calm before the storm had a new meaning in this world. They could come like a thief in the night and be gone faster than a one night stand.
He did another sweep with the rifle’s scope and a small targeting reticule appeared in the smart screen. Decker had never really liked the new fangled technology that they were reverse engineering from the machines every day. This rifle’s scope was one such toy that R&D had come up with. It was based on TripEight optical scanners, but, truth be told, it didn’t have the targeting peripherals. It took a firm hand to be able to make the gun do what the user wanted it to do; to hit what he wanted it to hit. Thankfully Decker was still the Resistance’s best shot. They said he could hit anything, even the fleas on Rex’s head.
Obstructions though were the sniper’s natural enemy and Hammerhead was one hell of a good obstruction with the hasty reinforcements and upgrades they’d made since the last raid. It was nearly a perfect fortress that rivaled what the Kings of ancient Earth would use. Then something happened that he hadn’t anticipated: Private Fahey opened the door into the base. It didn’t take long for Vance to join him at the door. From up here it looked like the Captain was screaming at the kid, what was being said though Decker couldn’t make out. From the looks of it their argument had to have been something good. Being assigned to Vance’s unit though should have made the dumb kid think twice before opening any locked doors especially when the Captain was around. Vance was the Angel of Death after all; no one lived for long when he was around.
From around the building though came a figure wrapped in shadows. The Corporal kept his gun focused on the shadowy body that was on the corner of Hammerhead. It wasn’t skeletal so that was a good sign, but the appearance of the clothing seemed to be something anachronistic with the reality of the future. What he could see of the figure he could make out it was a woman with a well prepared garment – clean and not tattered or torn as was the unintended fashion trends of the day. It couldn’t be an infiltrator. Skynet was crafty and knew to keep the female infiltrators back from the front lines and standard infiltration mission because of the ease with which they were detected. Endos were easier to hide inside the skin of men not out of sexism but because of body type. Could it be one of those Thousand units? Just one of them killed an entire Resistance convoy so God help them all if it was one of those beasts. A bucket he could deal with.
Another figure came from behind the other mysterious stranger. This one was similar to the first in keeping hidden, but was a male form. He was bulky and dressed in similar attire to that of the military fatigues that the Resistance soldiers wore. It was too well done up though to have been one of theirs – no detectable tears or smudges from years of trench warfare. Decker pushed the gain to maximum and brought up the thermal imaging. They read as perfectly human on his screens, but again that wasn’t much help. Zombies were humans that were assimilated into Skynet’s military through the use of CPU’s that were surgically installed into the victim's brain. When activated Skynet had its very own human puppet that it could use for whatever its perverted mind wanted. Skin jobs had perfect circulatory systems that kept their heat levels correct for an average human. They were too perfect. Decker mused wondering why the Techs couldn’t have made these guns with some sort of X-Ray vision as the bulkier of the two stepped into the light.
Decker recognized it in the span of a second. It was metal, but was it one of the ones that belonged to the Resistance or one of the Skynet beasts? His finger massaged the trigger as he weighed the choices inside his head about taking down the metal demon. He was beginning to squeeze when the woman came alongside the skin job. The older Corporal’s jaw dropped to what he saw: it was Allison. Below on the battlefield Captain Vance had a similar reaction after slapping young Fahey in the back of the head for the stupidity of releasing the door without the secret knock being given. Never the less, it all made sense now why the dog raised the red flag to one of their own. The dog would have barked and growled because of William – what they called the scrubbed trip eight that was assigned to Major Young’s squad – regardless of if Allison was with him or not. Captain Vance brought the Major and the Metal into the base leaving Decker alone with his thoughts.
But thinking wasn’t something that was on the top of his list right now. The cold of the night was making him think more about relaxing instead of the requirements of his job. There were no metal beasts, no HKs were swarming around like bees, and not even a Centurion tank nearby. For now he was only happy that Connor’s woman was home. Maybe she could make him get his head out of his ass and back into the game. But just incase Decker fingered the nearly spent power cell that had John Connor’s name written on it. If he stayed the course he was on right now then he’d get retribution for the soldiers he’d cost their lives. But for now Decker would keep watching the skies.
A gunshot shattered the still air.