Palmdale was a beautiful little city. With only a little over 100,000 people living in it, Palmdale was removed from the hustle and bustle that was La La Land by the San Gabriel Mountains. It was a fast growing city, but not too fast that it lost its charm. As the sun shown down on the world of the city it seemed like paradise itself. Like an idyllic Eden given to the men and women of humanity to live out their days in peace.
Not that Allison Young understood what the concept of Eden was. It was a story that was told to her in Sunday School Class with Mrs. McCluskey or when she was staying with her while Mommy and Daddy were at work. Allison’s father was an architect who worked on designing some of the most gorgeous places that you would ever see. When he was home with Allison and her sister, Daddy taught her how to draw. She wasn’t as good as her father when it came to drawing, but in her mind they were just as amazing. Daddy said she had a future in something called abstract art.
Allison loved spending time with her father; though it was her mother who she felt the best connection with. Mommy and she would sit at that big black thing (mommy called it a Piano) and they would push on the white bars for hours. From the things she called keys noise would come that made her feel good. Her mother – Claire – said that it was something called Chopin. They played together with Allison giving her own take on the classics by pressing those white buttons like mommy. As time went on her mother would play more and more songs from her studies as a music teacher at something called Antelope Valley Community College. It sounded impressive but Allison didn’t understand what that was either; although, beautiful things must come from there with people like Chopin, Mozart, and Rossini working there with mommy to make such amazing things. Allison would like to meet them but her mother told her that it wouldn’t be possible. That made her cry, but a hug reassured her.
Today was just like any other day in her life. She got up and was taken over to Mrs. McCluskey’s house when her mother left for work. Daddy always left earlier than Mommy did and always came home later, but he always greeted her with a very loving hug and kissed her on her cheek when he came through the door that made up for it. While her mommy was at school Allison watched Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street with Mrs. McCluskey before her babysitter read her a story from something called the bible. Allison didn’t understand why this big book didn’t have any pictures like hers did; however, looking at all the writing with her sitter made her feel like a big person. They turned to the last chapter of the big book and read something called the story of Revelation.
Never was Allison so afraid. When she was put down for her nap so that Mrs. McCluskey could have her private time Allison couldn’t fall asleep. Her younger sister was fast asleep beside her which made Ally envious of her sister’s luck. The young girl didn’t understand most of what her babysitter said, but there was something about the looks of the older lady’s face that gave Allison pause and scared her. Why would God punish people like that? Why would he bring civilization – whatever that was – to an end?
All Allison wanted was her mommy – though that wouldn’t be for a while. Mommy and Daddy were going on something called an Anniversary Dinner so she and sister would be staying with Mrs. McCluskey until almost bedtime. Allison’s older sister came over as soon as she got off of the school bus and that made everything seem okay again. It was a fun day and they were having cut up hot dogs and french fries for dinner. As Mrs. McCluskey set out their meal a distant rumble of thunder roared near the mountain.
“What the devil?” The older woman’s voice was frightened. “It’s not supposed to rain today.” She told sister to watch them for a minute while she went outside to see what was the matter. Allison wasn’t thinking much of it and was enjoying the ketchup soaked piece of hot dog when she saw Mrs. McCluskey come running through the door.
“Get to the basement!” She kept yelling. Through the windows Allison could see what looked like clouds rising up from the ground behind the mountain. The blue sky became as black as coal and the roars kept getting louder and louder. It looked like a picture from the story Mrs. McCluskey had read her earlier.
All Allison could do was call out with tear filled eyes and quivering lips was, “Mommy.”
“… This thing is amazing,” said a harsh male voice from no where. “Perfectly crafted, enhanced defenses, it’s just perfect.”
It was in the darkness that Allison Young was finding strength. Her field of vision was clouded by an unending night. A series of beeps, clicks, and whistles played through her head unheard by anyone but her. Slowly text began to appear among the dark with a schematic of her endoskeleton appearing on the right hand side with system power generation and allocation on the left. Perhaps, with some work, she could restore her systems at least partially.
“What you call perfect I call junk,” chastised a feminine sounding voice. “Look at that thing. It’s in pieces. How could we ever use that thing for anything other than a paperweight?”
The screens were still dark. Allison’s optical sensors were still functional if underpowered. There were a series of overloads to circuits inside her head but she could work around those malfunctions.
“Have faith,” came a third voice (another man). “We’ve been in worse shape and got those things to work before.”
Success! The clouds before her eyes disappeared revealing a group of people hovering over her with different pieces of technology. Her visual data screen flashed proximity alert warnings in red among the full colored FOV. A T-600 stood in the back holding a plasma blaster and stared at her. She tried to connect to him but her transceiver was offline. Human tampering no doubt.
The first man, who was closest to her, was cutting into her skull and trying to connect a computer to her memory port, “And this’ll be no different. She’s the same as any of the others that we’ve reprogrammed. Her face may be hard for us to handle, but we’ll get over it. After all we were able to reprogram the other.”
Reprogram? No they couldn’t be allowed to do that. They couldn’t be allowed to change the fundamentals of who she was. Skynet help her! She knew calling out to her father would be futile without the transceiver, but she couldn’t help but try. Alerts just kept flashing informing her repeatedly that the assembly was offline. It was impossible. She needed to fight back but restraints were in place.
“Is she awake?” It was the third male.
With the power drain being so severe her abilities were extremely limited – more than ever before. Why had C715.P turned on her? They had a plan and it would have allowed them to destroy John Connor and help Skynet to win the war. Instead she fired on her and disabled her systems with one well placed shot. She was a traitor and needed to be destroyed. Fortunately the humans seemed to have been doing that for her. Across from her she saw a mirrored image with more technicians hovering over her sister unit. They were busily working on her. She was a convert, a conscripted collaborator. She would need to be destroyed.
“Heavens no,” said the first man as he pulled out a USB Cable. He threw a thumb back toward Cameron, “That one disabled her power systems.”
Allison was able to access the mobility subroutines that allowed her movement. The tactical systems were down and she couldn’t pack a good punch against these enemies, but she could at least take out a few of them. She began transferring power.
The woman approached, “Still though I’d prefer a little more than just your opinion. These things are incredibly adept at coming back from the dead and biting us on the ass.”
“Would you two relax already?” The first began typing on a Tablet PC. “We’re almost there and this thing’ll need major repairs before it’ll be able to move. I’m going to… Oh my…”
Allison had completed her power transfers. A gloved hand shot forward and grabbed hold of the human man’s neck like a mechanical vise. She pulled him closer and squeezed her fingers together. The sound of cracking bone filled the air and crimson blood could be seen coming around the fingers. Allison couldn’t feel any of it. The tactile sensors were offline, but soon she would be too. For a moment the replica wished she would have been given a self termination implant.
Ahead of them people were scrambling to shut her down. They were pulling power circuits and ripping at the infiltrator. Alarms rang inside Allison’s systems and warning lights flashed on her heads up display. Internal systems were compromised. They had reached into her torso and were trying to disable her power generators. Defense systems were not functional. She had no recourse. There was no defense. She watched as they pulled her primary power cell from her chest and stared at it. The power allocation monitor on the left of her vision plummeted down like a ton of bricks. Her vision began to roll and the computer screens went to static. She was offline again and a victim to whatever the humans wished.
In what seemed like a second her vision restored itself. Lines of text scrolled through on her vision as the primary systems and secondary systems loaded and came online. Normally all of those lines would terminate with ONLINE; although, this time that wasn’t the case for the majority. FAIL was what she saw more than any other time in her entire synthetic life. Not even the cerebral syncording of Allison Young was online. The security systems told her something she never hoped to see: intrusion detected. As the images of the external environment began to take shape before her she saw more technicians hovering over her and understood entirely. What the technician she killed had been working on was achieved. The humans had penetrated her neural network and had full access to her systems. They were working on what she feared: a complete reprogramming and conscription into the Human Resistance. She knew that the humans were using her brothers and sisters in such a manner, but she always hoped never to experience it. Why didn’t Skynet allow her to self terminate? Why did he allow her to be captured? Why did Cameron do this to her? At least she was in the same boat as humans would say.
“Danny,” said one of the techs, “She’s awake again.”
The thirty-nine year old Daniel Dyson smiled at the technician. He was dressed not in the typical fatigues of the usual Resistance soldier but rather what the humans called a T-Shirt and Jeans. He wore an old and grungy lab coat covered with what could only be synthetic blood and grease from the lubricant that worked her systems. The African American man rubbed his hands together and came into the field of view. His face dominated her vision.
“Good morning, Miss, how you feeling?”
Allison wanted to kill him but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. On her screens a full systems diagnostic informed her that her connections to her mobility subroutines had been severed. Her endoskeleton had been restrained and her advanced functions were all suspended. She tried to speak but the words could not come.
“I don’t need to hear you to know,” he said looking at the monitor behind her. On the screen Dyson could see what the machine was seeing. While Allison felt violated, Dyson was only too proud of what he was reading. “Looks like you’re feeling a bit under the weather. Sorry about that, we had to make sure that you wouldn’t try to kill any more of us like you did Lieutenant Lao.
The cybernetic organism tried to initiate a system shutdown but to no avail. This seemed to bring Dyson nothing but pleasure. If it was possible his smile just got broader. “But we’ll talk more later. Don’t worry about anything though. We’ll take good care of you. I’ve known you and your kind for over thirty years.”
The infiltrator was perplexed by this. The Series 888 Infiltrator had only been activated within recent years and not nearly the thirty that Dyson claimed. Advanced data was unavailable as her CPU access was somewhat restricted because of the human’s manipulations, but she did know that there were no active Skynet cases directed toward Dyson.
“Don’t worry,” said the human. “We’ll talk all about it. Right now though I think you need a nap,” he typed something on the keyboard. Within seconds the machine’s neural network had processed the command. A message flashed on her vision: Sleep Cycle Engaged. Before she could protest the machine felt her systems shut down.
Daniel Dyson let out a long breath that was half sigh and half yawn. It felt like it’d been over a year since he last slept and John had him hard at work reprogramming yet another of the skinjobs. It was morbid to be working on a machine with the face of John Connor’s one time lover – and even more so because he had done it twice today. The first machine, the one called Cameron, had been easily accessed but this one would be harder to control. He was eager to try though. Danny liked a challenge and his life gave him that.
Life had always given him a challenge ever since that cool night where the Connors and their big friend walked into his life. Little did he know that he would one day be pulled into the world of those people who tried to murder his father. Little did he know that the Connors’ big friend would revisit him decades later as a murderous killing machine. To anyone else this would have been like a story out of bad science fiction, for Danny it was life.
“Be sure to keep an eye on her,” said the Resistance Colonel as he signed off on an old fashioned clipboard. “Watch her dreams – you never know what they can tell you.”
“Yes Sir,” said the young technician. “At least I’ll have an answer to a question I’ve long wondered.”
Danny was intrigued, “That is?”
“Do androids dream of electric sheep?”
With a laugh he walked away and went to his quarters. He knew though that he wouldn’t sleep even though his body was crying for it. Danny Dyson too was wondering if the android dreamt of electric sheep, and his father that they killed. Maybe one day they would tell him that answer.