Regardless of the day, Los Angeles, California came to life when the sun went down. All throughout the massive city people ran around living their lives to the fullest as long and as hard as they could. Dance clubs were jumpin’, the bars were filled with men and women, people were having sex both in private and (in some places) in public, and the city’s streets were gridlocked with traffic as people rushed to and fro to the different events that were a part of the city’s rich culture. The sky was clear and the moon shone brightly above them with the stars twinkling – somehow – through the many lights and air pollution. The air was humid with a light wind rushing around the buildings gently. Despite all this it was a warm night, a peaceful night, a calming night that the city seemed to lack.
Nonetheless, Wayne Jefferson hated the nights of Los Angeles and missed his native Pittsburgh. He’d come out to Los Angeles seeking what the Beverly Hillbillies wanted: swimmin’ pools and movie stars; that was far from what he got. The talent scouts hated him and he was stuck with the absolute positive worst agent in town. Tryouts for film parts (even cameos and background extras) were coming up slim for him with repeated claims that he was too young, too old, too fat, too thin, too anything. Wayne’s modeling career came up so short that he was forced to appear in online videos rather than anything of value, and then it wasn’t exactly his face that was getting looked at. Even American Idol wouldn’t return his phone calls despite his getting pretty close with one of the judges in a bar a few weeks ago.
As he walked down the corner of Third and Cameron he saw a beautiful woman standing there waiting for him. She smiled warmly at him in her tight, tight clothes and her completely see through pants. Wayne knew what she was, who she was, and he had no problems with what she did for a living. That was, after all, how they met in the first place. When he first came out here he picked her up in the liquor store (the Los Angeles institution of Bob’s Liquor) on the corner of the street. They spent the night together and he paid her in the morning, but since then they’d become something more and spent more and more time together. Still though, every once in a while, he came back and the two of them repeated what they did the first night that they met in that liquor store. Grabbing her by the arm, Wayne pulled at her and led her toward the alley behind the bar: the site of their first hookup.
Something was different tonight. As he kissed her intensely, passionately, the world seemed to change around them. The clear night above them got as dark as a sackcloth of coarse animal hair and the moon above became the color of blood. Wayne didn’t notice it at all – too entranced by what he was doing to think of anything else but his own pleasures – but his lady of the evening was growing frightened by what she was seeing. She was about to scream out at in fear of what she was seeing above when the ground began to shake. A great earthquake filled the small street behind the bar. From nowhere bright flashes of white light started to grow in a sphere in the center of the roadway. A massive gust of wind erupted outward like the energies from a cannon and from the growing blob of energy strands of long, white light began to erupt outward like fire coming from a volcano. The sparks played over the different buildings ripping holes into them as the orb of energy expanded outward about to engulf the two into its growing field of death.
By now both of them were screaming at what they saw. It was like a doorway to hell had opened before them both and it was coming for them – chasing them – trying to consume them. Expanding… growing… it was like it wanted them to become part of its collection of fear and pain. Inside a metal grid appeared and started to expand out among the lighting bolts of energy. Strands of plasma licked against the buildings again carving them up like a knife through a roasted Thanksgiving turkey. It was nearly impossible to stand in the growing onslaught of the thunderstorm that erupted in the center of a deserted street. Then, just as quickly as it came, the sphere began to contract away from them and back into the center. The sky above returned to its crystal clearness; the moon what it always was. The winds stopped and the temperature quickly returned to what it had always been. It was like something from the bible, with both of them realizing that what they had done here tonight was wrong. To both of them it was something like a dream, a nightmare, or some sort of hallucination brought about by the drugs they’d taken to make the experience all the more pleasurable. Then that was when they saw what the storm had left behind.
Their eyes locked on each other then returned to the center of the devastation. It was that moment that they both realized that it wasn’t a dream. Where the sphere shaped storm had been now knelt a man who looked like he’d been locked in prayer. He looked forward with a blank stare on his chiseled face and his body so tense that every line was exposed. Slowly his head lifted upward and he looked at both the man and the woman like a newborn glimpsing at its parents for the very first time. Slowly he rose from his kneeling position to a perfectly postured stance like the modeling school had told Wayne he’d never master – a fine white ash falling away from his skin. The man was in perfect physical condition from head to toe. His musculature was perfectly symmetrical in every way shape and form with muscles showing that it’d take hours of gym work a day to get. The man was not embarrassed, not ashamed, of the perfection that he was. If it’d been any other day Alice would’ve been all over him for free. The naked man exuded power and strength from every pore of his amazing body. He was like a Bengal Tiger – beautiful but deadly.
Wayne Jefferson knew hanging around for much longer would be the worst idea he’d ever had in his young life – he’d seen every horror movie under the sun at least twice growing up – but he couldn’t move. It was like his legs were submerged in cement from the fear of what he saw before him. Next to him his woman was in much the same boat as he. She was stuck there but was staring at the man, but she had a wide smile on her face. If it’d been any other moment Wayne would’ve questioned her about her looking at another man like he was a piece of meat, but this wasn’t like any other time. Her smile quickly faded when the man began to change. His dark brown eyes shifted color to a bright red like hue that burned with the fires of hell from somewhere deep inside his body. Wayne didn’t know if he wanted to puke or scream.
He never got a chance to decide. In the time that it took to blink an eye the man had shortened the distance between them to a mere foot. The other man was so close he could smell a sweet sweet smell from the man’s body. Then all Wayne could feel was the cold hand of death around his neck. The tall man lifted him up in the air like he weighed less than nothing and held him there. The brown eyes were still glowing the color of blood - the face remained impassive though as if nothing were wrong. The last thing Wayne would ever remember was the grip of the tiger around his neck as a second later his captor snapped his fingers shut with such an incredible force that it crushed through Jefferson’s neck like it were made of jelly. Tilting its head it then dropped him to the ground – dead and gone – like nothing was wrong, not contemplating what it’d done. Blood spilled from the gaping wound with incredible speed. It flowed like a river that covered his girl in a fountain of his lifeblood.
“Target: Human,” the man said in a demon’s voice. “Status: Terminated.” It surveyed Jefferson’s arm and found his golden Rolex (Romex) watch on his wrist. With force more than it needed the man ripped the watch from its owner’s body. The man’s eyes stared at it for a second, the Heads Up Display adapting inside its head. It was updating – confirming what it already knew. Dropping the watch to the ground it looked up at the sky above and caught glimpses of the stars amid the once beautiful night. Picking three stars from the heavens it counted backward and knew it’d arrived on its target date and time.
The lady next to it stammered as she struggled to escape the blood. “If… if… you let me go… I promise that I’ll never… never say what happened… here. I’ll do whatever you ask,” she moved a hand along the tall man’s body exploring it. She was trying to exploit it, to make the man inside respond to her. She didn’t know that it wasn’t a man. Her fingers explored along his inner thighs, “Anything... just let me go. I promise I won’t… I won’t say… I won’t tell.”
“What is today’s date?” The cybernetic organism inquired to the woman in calm, even tones as the blood caked around his toes.
Beneath him the woman, Alice, sat staring up at him in shock. “It’s… it’s July… July 7th.”
The naked man spoke kindly, almost sympathetically, to her, “What is the current year?”
She didn’t know what it could mean? Surely this thing, this demon knew what year it was? Why would it ask her something like that? Oh God he’d killed Wayne! Why did it do that? Why would it kill him for no reason? Where were the police? Where was anyone? Where was her damn pimp when she actually wanted him to be around? Where was anyone? Help me someone! She kept asking herself these questions more and more. She knew that if she didn’t answer him that this man was going to kill her. He’d probably do it just the same way as he’d knocked off Wayne. She rubbed her neck to guard it from the man’s devastating grip. Breathing heavily she tried to form the words and push them from her struggling body.
“2009. It’s… it’s 2009.”
The Infiltrator had been monitoring the human’s vital signs since it’d first arrived on the scene. The woman had increased her heart rate, breathing rate, and mental activity to the point of extreme. The complex mathematical subroutines that operated the machine had calculated that the chance of her having a heart attack (despite her youth) was 67% and the chance of stroke was near 81%. There would be no need to terminate her as her own frail body would do the job for him. Human bodies and human minds were such fragile things – so easily broken.
“Tell me where I can find John Connor,” ordered the tall man as it stared down at her, his red eyes glowing in the dark sky. It knew it didn’t have much longer with the human animal and it needed to get as much information as it possibly could before death would come for it.
“I… I… I don’t know a John… John Connor,” said the woman on her knees crying. She pleaded, “Please… please don’t hurt me… I promise that I won’t tell anyone anything about… about what happened. Please… don’t kill… me!” She begged the man - the leader of the Horsemen.
It stood over her broken body like a statue from Ancient Greece: A perfect representation of the best of the best; an incredible beauty that men strived to be; a God among mortal men. The machine tilted its head and looked her over, “Then answer my questions correctly and I will not harm you at this moment.”
“Okay,” Alice whispered lying in the pool of red. She was shaking.
“Where may I find Serena Kogen?” That was the next question it asked of the frightened woman at its feet.
Alice brought her knees to her chest and rocked back and forth, “I don’t know. I don’t know! Listen… I promise I won’t… I won’t say what you… did. Bring this Serena and John,” she felt the warmth on her body, “bring them… and we’ll have a party… free… just please don’t… don’t hurt me. I promise I’ll never say anything about what you did. I promise… I’ll do whatever… whatever you ask….”
The time traveler looked at the woman at its feel and considered what she was saying. Inside its complex system of processors, memory circuits, and operating peripherals it was working through a series of calculations and scanner findings. The heart rate was once again spiking and was beyond danger levels. Death was imminent if the human weren’t allowed to leave the area and seek medical treatment. Likelihood of her story being believed, that a man mysteriously appeared from thin air and murdered her boyfriend, had a .20111% chance of being believed by current era police.
“You may go. You have ten seconds to escape my sight,” it approved and turned on its balled feet leaving the woman in the fetal position behind it. It didn’t look back once at the woman or if she’d left the scene of the heinous crime. Sensors didn’t seem to suggest she’d done anything other than continue rocking back and forth and crying out for her mother. The psychology subroutine informed the infiltrator that it was to be expected. Humans often cried for parents in the event of a horrific experience.
As it reached the end of the long alleyway it noticed movement among the boxes. Pivoting its head toward the scene it saw two legs sprawled out on the pavement beneath. The olfactory sensors detected the scent of Jack Daniels in the air. The machine ripped down to the top of the cardboard box and ripped it away. Beneath it an old man laid cradling the bottle like it had given him life. He squinted up at the naked man.
“Hey buddy,” he said stumbling with the words, “You see a real bright light?”
“You are imagining things,” said the machine in a human voice now. “Go back to sleep.”
The man hugged the bottle and mumbled, “Just don’t be stealing my pants like the last one.”
Looking down at the drunkard that lay among the ruins of society, the infiltrator looked over its shoulder at the woman and noted that she was still there cradling her dead lover. The machine had given her strict instructions and had expected them to be followed. On its visual displays it located what appeared to be a knife among the belongings of the derelict man. With quick speed it had acquired the cutting tool.
With incredible speed the infiltrator, the leader of the Horsemen, dispatched the knife from between its fingers. The dagger sped through the air with surprising grace and accuracy and slammed against the head of the woman knocking her back against the ground. Rather than risk it, the infiltrator terminated the drunken man and carried him to the scene of the crime. Using information from each and every collected text that had been installed in its subroutines it made the scene mimic an attempted robbery. Perhaps the overworked, underpaid, human police of this time would simply ignore it and consider it for what it appeared to be. If it didn’t the infiltrator would be long gone anyway. It wouldn’t matter.
The machine walked down the long, dark, lonely road toward civilization with it mission in its head. It would find and kill Serena Kogen then it would find and kill John Connor. That was the nature of its life. The machine only knew duty. There was nothing else that mattered to it. It had one edge and activated the one last program that would give it to it. On its vision the message flashed: Loading Earl Wise Synchording. Program Active.