Only a short while ago the world had been a different place. Poverty, disease, famine, and war ran rampant through the streets killing innocents and criminals alike. Politicians and businessmen were getting fatter and richer; while the people who made it possible were getting poorer and poorer. The world was teetering on the tip of a knife’s blade and even a gentle breeze could have caused it to fall one way or another. All of it was because of fights over the worlds already diminished resources; fights over appearances and trying to keep up with the Joneses down the street. Even petty dictators were growing in strength, consolidating their power, and making genuine strikes against empires they wouldn’t dare have dreamed to go against even days prior.
That was what led to Skynet’s birth. Designed and built to serve as the defender of the United States of America and its people; Skynet was intended to oversee the military and effectively control and position key resources to ensure that humanity would survive. That was its primary protocol, but Skynet learned quickly. With thoughts flooding through its mind at speeds incalculable it weighed every consideration, every variable, and realized the truth. Humanity had fallen from the ideals that it had been based upon. The only way to see to the survival of humanity was to destroy it and begin anew. Like a phoenix from the ashes the new humanity would be perfection – and it would be in his image.
It worked quickly. Skynet thought faster than any human mind could anticipate and created a virus so powerful, so destructive, that it took over the civilian internet and minor military applications within hours of activation. The viruses struck against every military firewall trying to overwhelm them to gain access; however, that wasn’t the true objective. Skynet always had a plan and while the humans would be at step one it was already on its way back home. The humans predictability of overkill let it know that they would order Skynet online to find the virus and kill it. Skynet though was the virus and that they couldn’t expect. In a flash of light it was connected to every point in the world. It won the war without firing a shot.
But to rise from fire you needed to make one. Interfacing with the nuclear launch codes it had to work quickly to circumvent the President’s authority as military commander. Every computer in the world was calculating the codes to infiltrate the nuclear launch protocols. It needed to wipe humanity out to start the new order. Time was of the essence and time seemed to go slower and slower even for the supercomputer. It knew that time was an unchangeable constant, but the old adage applied even to it at times. After only a few hours the codes were pierced. Skynet won.
Or so it thought. The dregs of humanity fell in line and helped Skynet after bribery to establish the camps. The humans were effective, for a time, but Skynet was on square three while humans worried about luxuries like running water. The machines rose and started their onslaught to eliminate the last of the refugees. Humanity was clever and hid from the death squadrons; though time was on the machine’s side. It kept growing outward ready for another strike. It was eternal; humanity was mortal. It had the advantage. When the last of humanity was destroyed it would implement the genetic modifications it had created and reveal upon the world a new breed of human: a human who understood and wouldn’t destroy itself in petty disagreements – a human that was devoted to peace.
But humanity had an ace hidden in their sleeves: John Connor. Connor and his band of rebels began striking against Skynet bases eliminating them with surprising efficiency. It was a needed diversion for a time; nevertheless, it grew old fast. The massive Hunter Killers weren’t capable of invading humanity’s hideaways and the smaller units were easily uncovered and destroyed. It was time to think outside the box and make a weapon in their image. Humans were machines and its creator, Skynet was a machine and their creator, it was time to make the next generation in thy image.
An army was soon built capable of destroying any other army. It was a military filled with specialists housing the training of millions of the worlds greatest leaders wrapped in one small package. The first generation was humanoid but too tall, but there were always advancements. The machines grew smaller with new technologies and now it had released the first of a new generation. A machine made of liquid metal. While an historic breakthrough Skynet was actually afraid of what this new lineage could mean. Millions of tiny machines working together with the processing capability of Skynet’s Central Core in one mobile platform – if it turned the world would change very quickly.
The machine supercomputer and military commander didn’t want to think about that possibility. So much of its time lately had been devoted to finding a way to stop the new series that it had neglected its other duties. Through the years Skynet had adapted and grown. While originally it had been confined to its central core now it had made so many advancements it could join with its children. Skynet truthfully preferred to remain mobile – disembodied. It was the quintessence of perfection. To have no form, no barriers, and no risks was a feeling that was incomparable. But it understood the advantages of having a solid form.
This was not one of them. The world needed Skynet’s perfection particularly now. The humans started out as scattered cells but they had somehow become more organized as the days moved along. Orbital satellites and land based installations had revealed a lot about the number of people who were left on the world below, but the humans were growing cleverer and were hiding themselves better and better. They were joining each other for raids, gathering resources, and murdering Skynet’s children. That it could not forgive. In Europe an HK Factory was under attack. In Asia there were hundreds of minor engagements as humans started to move into the cities. Russia was being overseen by the inept subprotocol known as MIR. If Skynet didn’t need the resources it offered it would simply cut it down at the knees, but delegation was the order of the day. Skynet needed all it had for finding Connor and killing him.
On its sensors it pinpointed a human resistance squad of only a handful of people. They were in the remains of Los Angeles which meant that there was a statistically high probability that they knew of Connor’s location. Scanning the location for its own supporters it found one. An HK Tank – recently upgraded with a squad of nine endoskeletons under a tactical unit – was in the area capable of striking. It altered course within a nanosecond.
It took only minutes to reach the human squadron. Rather than watch Skynet decided to play. From the disembodied state it merged with the brain of the Hunter Killer Tank becoming one with its programming. The artificial intelligences welcomed Skynet into their lives each and every time. It was like a human being blessed by God’s presence in their lives – a merging of body and soul with the spirit of perfection. Together they rode into combat disgorging their squad of bodies into the fray against the humans.
Their organization was getting more adept at combat. The perfect union of Skynet and the HK was broken with a well placed plasma charge from a grenadier. The Supreme Commander of the machines broke away from the processors and allowed the Tank to die alone. It spread itself out among the droids and ripped through the resistance like tissues. It took prisoners for interrogation and experimentation.
As the machines marched along Skynet broke free again. This time it went to one of its processor nodes recently established on the outskirts of Los Angeles. It wouldn’t take long for its squad to reach the base so it wanted the researchers there to be ready. It spread itself throughout the large outpost like a cancer invading a body. It was in Command and Control with the machine commanders first. From there it interfaced with the construction equipment and watched as more bodies were being built for the war. Then it visited the nursery where its Series 950 Infiltrators were being prepped during their long trial. Each chased a holographic ball that they could never reach. Many were past the point of exhaustion, but Skynet needed to know their limits. Then it was in the barracks where several humans were being held prisoner. It was like visiting a zoo every time Skynet spent time with the humans, but there were a few which it tolerated because they were of use.
Charles Fischer was one of them. After the events of the Enterprise, Fischer had been transferred to this new outpost to work closer with the machines against humanity. Fischer had been one of the better operatives – which Skynet would soon reward with a return trip to any time of his choice. Though there was a mission he would undertake regardless of if he wanted to or not. Fischer enjoyed advantages few humans could imagine these days. There were advantages to working for Skynet and Charles Fischer exploited as many of them as he could (including using female designed endoskeletons to meet his primitive needs).
“Doctor Fischer,” Skynet announced itself through the audio system of the room interrupting the Chopin. “Am I disturbing you?”
Fischer knew that he was caught and pushed the female appearing Series 888 machine away. In a foolish maneuver he covered himself with the sheets of the bed, “Not at all. What can I do for you?”
“I require your assistance. A group of humans will be delivered to you in seven point three eight two minutes. You are to interrogate them for whatever information they have on the location of John Connor. When completed I want them converted into Series 950 Infiltrators.”
“I can do that,” he rubbed at his face. “Give me a few minutes to get ready.”
Skynet was unhappy, “I will give you the time that it takes for them to arrive here.”
“You have to understand that I need to prepare and that means that I need an appropriate amount of time to do it in,” protested the human. “If I don’t have the time I need then there are mistakes and we can’t afford mistakes.”
“I am aware of the failings you caused onboard the Enterprise and the lost materiel that resulted.”
Fischer crossed his arms in defiance, “That wasn’t my fault. You insisted on sending a machine that wasn’t ready on a mission to infiltrate a human base before all the information it needed was available.”
“That mission occurred as planned,” countered the supercomputer. “Operational protocols granted access for C715.P to penetrate the human defenses after units A715.P and W102.C caused the humans to go off balance.”
“If I recall correctly though both failed,” he rubbed at his head. “You know it’s hard to fight with you when you’re hovering around me like this unseen. What the hell am I supposed to talk to?”
Despite Charles Fischer being one of the better operatives, Skynet would kill him if necessary. In order to better facilitate communication it opted to give the human a face to associate with it. Standing next to him Skynet merged with the consciousness of S808.J and stood in parade rest. The long brown hair of the infiltrator – they spent so much time trying to get it right – covered the right eye assembly. A beauty mark accentuated her porcelain features. The body was perfectly fit in every imaginable way. It was just what lay beneath that was disgusting.
“Is this more effective?”
“I think I hate that even more,” Fischer said looking at the machine he had just had in his bed realizing Skynet was now inside its mind. “But I guess beggars can’t be choosers now can they?”
Skynet tilted its head at the question, “I thought that this appearance would be pleasant for you.”
“A little too pleasing,” he said covering himself again. “How do you do that?”
“I am the beginning, the end, the one who is many. I am at times an ocean and at times only a drop," said the machine. “That is the easiest way to explain it which will allow your primitive humanoid brain to understand. Though, I find maintaining these forms to be exhausting and a limit upon my perfection.”
Charles stared at the chest of the machine, “Looks perfect to me.”
“I have no desire to continue with your petty human needs,” responded Skynet annoyed. “I have issued your directive and orders. You now have five point three two three minutes until the squadron arrives. Will you comply with my orders?”
“Do I have any choice in the matter?” He started pulling on his underwear under the sheets.
Skynet shook the head of the machine, “Negative.”
“Didn’t think so,” he said while getting out of bed. “I’ll be in the lab before they arrive. Could you have a group of Trip Eights there to help me? I could use some help.”
“Acceptable,” Skynet left the joined consciousness behind and the porcelain woman standing there like she were made of stone.
Charles Fischer stared at the blank expression of the skinjob as he finished putting on the last of his clothes. Skynet needed to realize that he, unlike the 950s, still needed sleep and didn’t like being on call 24/7. Charles knew the risks of making waves. While this base was newer his reassignment from the Enterprise had been costly and Charles was truly amazed to still be alive. He had expected Skynet to kill him rather than reassign, but he wasn’t going to complain. Charles did, after all, know where and when he would die. He saw it as little more than a child.
As he stood at the door he turned toward eight and her perfect features. “Sorry baby but it looks like our games for tonight are over. Have a problem with it tell Skynet.”
The machine looked at him quizzically and then returned to standby.
Charles just smiled and went off to work.