Kyle Reese stepped into the Sovereign Room with his brother Derek following close behind him. Savannah had told them to go ahead of her and Ellison because they had some last minute duties to attend to before they could start (Ellison quipped about a PowerPoint presentation – whatever the hell that was). Kyle had never cared much for waiting but had realized a long time ago that, as a soldier, there were times when all you could do was sit around and wait. At least he could assume that it wouldn’t be a long wait. Ellison would be along in a few moments, they’d get this show on the road as the old saying went, and then the real fireworks would start to fly.
The younger Reese spotted an open table and went toward it but he felt that Derek wasn’t following him. He turned and, unsurprisingly, he’d been exactly right. Derek was still standing near the door and he’d been looking through the room from the excellent vantage that their entrance had given them. His older brother’s eyes were locked on a table near the middle of the room directly adjacent to the dance floor where Ellison would speak from in a moment. There was something in his brother’s eyes that Kyle had never seen before and his focus was on a woman sitting at that table.
Beautiful was an understatement for the lady soldier that Derek had been staring at. The woman had long, straight black hair that was as dark as the space that lay between the stars. From her features Kyle had guessed she was of Chinese descent but she had a South American flair about her that, if Kyle had to guess, was from Portugal or in that general vicinity. From the laugh though and her answer to a friend whom had been sitting to her left Kyle could tell that she’d spent a great deal of time in Australia. Even though the world had ended he’d always had an eye and ear for other cultures and their citizens. She was, as Derek had basically said, quite amazing. He could understand why his brother would hope that she’d come through that door and why he’d still be naked after a night with her. If their lives were reversed Kyle knew that he’d have done the exact same thing, but there was only one woman for Kyle Reese and, as far as he knew, she was dead and buried. He brushed it off with gentle teasing.
“So I guess that’s your exercise partner,” Kyle teased Derek.
The older Reese rolled his eyes and tried to hide it, “Go eat yellow snow, Dumbass.”
Kyle smiled, “Ooh Mister Snippy. Let’s go get a table,” he offered and then he surveyed the options available to them. Sitting right next to Jesse’s table was an open one that had a perfect view for the briefing. Kyle decided to have some fun with his brother and pointed it out to him, “That one’s perfect, don’t you think?”
Derek shrugged but Kyle knew what he’d really been thinking. The older brother tried to brush it off but Kyle saw through him, “Whatever works for you.”
The two walked in silence and took their seats at the rustic looking table. Kyle took a seat in the middle while Derek took the one to his immediate right which, coincidentally, had a perfect vantage of Jesse right in the middle of it. The younger Reese wondered if this had been what High School would’ve been like had he ever had the opportunity to go to it. Jesse wasn’t making it any easier on him either. Kyle had noticed that Jesse’d started to flirt with the soldier that was sitting next to her and it was having surprising influence on Derek. As Kyle looked at his older brother he honestly wondered if that low noise he kept hearing could be Derek grinding his teeth.
Kyle slammed his booted foot on his brother’s and shot him a look to behave. Saving him from Derek’s wrath was Savannah Weaver who finally came in through the side door carrying her customary Phased Plasma Rifle. Kyle was still amazed that the girl didn’t have a broken back from hefting around that massive gun. He was, in a sense, in tip top physical condition and he even felt that that particular model was too heavy to comfortably use and lug around. It wasn’t like his personal preference was any better though when you got down to business. Kyle used a Barrett M82 that they’d liberated from one of Sarah Connor’s holes in the ground in the desert. It was like carrying around a metal box filled with bricks, but it made up for it with its deadly payload. The sniper rifle fired a Raufoss Mark 211 round that had a tungsten core, was armor piercing, highly explosive and incendiary, though that wasn’t the best part about this particular gun. The round would hit that target with the force of a 20mm cannon. Reese watched the girl with a piercing gaze as she walked over to the center of the dais and started to survey the crowd.
Derek leaned in close to his brother and whispered, “Are you sure she’s not a goddamned metal bitch?”
“Why would you ever assume that she was?” Kyle answered with his own question for his brother.
“Do you want a freaking list?” He was still whispering as Ellison came through the door.
“Ellison trusts her and swears that she’s not a machine,” the leader of the refugees assured his older brother. “That’s good enough an answer for me.”
The older Reese sighed and kept whispering, “Remind me later to have a serious talk with you about trusting people, young man.”
“Remind me to tell you to go to hell when you do,” Kyle pulled away and watched as Ellison reached the chair. He watched the presenter set the cane made from the remains of a Series 600 endoskeleton aside and watched as he looked out at the gathered crowd.
James Ellison gave a pretty good speech and Kyle Reese was impressed by what he was saying, but Kyle wasn’t really paying much attention to the briefing that was going on. He’d heard this story already anyway and he’d basically come up with the plan at Ellison’s side only a short while ago. James used his people adeptly and they detailed everything that had happened and had been uncovered over the last few days at length. Savannah, ironically, was the first person to go after Ellison finished his piece of the presentation.
Savannah, with her rifle finally slung, detailed the information that they had been trying to keep from as many people as possible. She explained to the gathered group that Skynet had finally cracked the code of human genetic material and that the machine super intelligence had begun to mass produce a new series of war machine that was surrounded by human skin. The girl explained that this new weapon could easily penetrate human defenses by pretending to be a human survivor. She continued to explain that the machine would then carry out the standard invasion strategy that they’d all become familiar with or that they’d install themselves deep in the base and transmit the location to Skynet for a full invasion. Pretty much she gave the basics of the newest monster that they had to contend with and reminded people to be on guard, but not to become paranoid and accuse their neighbors based on flimsy evidence. There was something more that she put into her report that Kyle himself had never heard before nor had his benefactor given him any information on. Savannah explained that Skynet had also been working on a new generation endoskeleton called the Series 900 and, additionally, that Skynet was working on another machine that was capable of mimicking any human form that it touched and, further, could make knives and stabbing weapons from its arms. Apparently, if true, then Ellison’s spy network was a lot better off than anything that Kyle had at his disposal and Ellison was supposed to be one of Kyle’s own subordinates!
Jesse Flores, Derek’s friend with benefits, was the next one up at the plate. Her part was about her team’s mission deep into a Skynet outpost located within Topanga Canyon and what her people had found there. They’d been able to download information explaining that Skynet had been developing, just as the benefactor had informed him, a new weapon unlike anything else that any of the refugees had ever encountered before. What was most surprising was that she explained that they had little contact with the enemy while they were exploring the base. They only bumped into a handful of older model Series 600 endoskeletons and they were able to easily evade them. She didn’t like to theorize, but Jesse explained that she assumed it was because the humans hadn’t ventured that far into Topanga before and probably didn’t expect any human activity in the region since it was deep in Skynet controlled territory. She also explained that they’d been able to recover some data related to other Skynet operations in progress that were critical to allowing this new ultimate weapon to work.
That was where the missions came in. They were going to divide the group of survivors into assault teams. A small strike force was going to go after an old military outpost where Skynet was recovering materials and they were going to blow it up to prevent Skynet from recycling any more of the refuse into valuable construction materials. The other team, however, had a mission that was perhaps far more important that they were expected to accomplish. This team was going to go in and they were going to recover a group of survivors that Skynet had been holding and experimenting upon. This group of survivors being held by Skynet would give the refugees over 125 extra soldiers to use against Skynet in the battle if they could be rescued. Skynet had been holding them aboard the remains of the Aircraft Carrier USS Enterprise as test subjects for the creation of the Series 800 infiltrator and to see the effects of the field created by the new weapon according to the reports. To the people of only a few years ago 125 was a pretty low number, but it was a hell of a lot more than what they had right now. Some would have thought it a suicide mission but to each of the survivors here in the Sovereign Room it was far from being just that. This was a chance for redemption and it was a mission that they would take no matter the personal cost to them. Helping people was just as important as saving the world and finding even one living, breathing human was a cause to celebrate. They’d be damned if they’d let 125 people live under Skynet’s tyranny any longer.
This was the reason why the rescue mission had far more volunteers than the mission to destroy the Skynet Depot. Ellison had to cherry pick a few people from the volunteer list and he relocated them to the mission to destroy Depot 37 in Los Angeles County despite their objections. Kyle noted that Derek was one of the volunteers for the mission to destroy the Skynet Depot and, more importantly, he hadn’t been a conscripted volunteer. He made a conscious choice to go on that particular mission. Kyle was a bit worried for his brother’s safety and rightfully so. Depot 37, in addition to being a recycling plant, was one of Skynet’s largest endoskeleton production facilities and it had the largest factory that they’d ever come across aside from the one built into the sublevels beneath Skynet Central. Worse was that Kyle couldn’t go with him this time. Kyle himself had already been selected for his particular task and he, unfortunately, would be hanging back at the base to prepare weapons and the full battle plan for their assault on Topanga Canyon. Kyle hated that fact and he’d rather be on the front lines doing something more valuable to the human race, but he wasn’t being given that opportunity; for now. Right now he had to pretend to be a General like MacArthur or Eisenhower when he was, quite frankly, more a soldier than anything else.
Jesse Flores had also volunteered for a mission and she was also going on her first choice probably much to Derek’s chagrin. Jesse had put her hand up to rescue the survivors onboard the Enterprise and she was one of the first that Ellison had suggested for that particular task during their planning meeting. Interestingly enough John Connor had also volunteered for this mission and that really surprised the younger Reese. He’d expected John to either volunteer to help plan the battle at Topanga Canyon or to go after Depot 37 with Derek. He would’ve gone so far as bet on John’s choice being to help blow up 37. Though, John, like Derek, could’ve been acting with his heart more than his head. It was no secret that he was close to Allison Young and it was entirely possible that Allison was one of the prisoners interred at the Enterprise camp. In a lot of ways it surprised Kyle more than he didn’t expect John to want to try to liberate that prison.
When the teams had been selected Ellison dismissed his personnel to go get ready for their respective missions. He wasn’t giving them long to do it. He expected his people to be on the ready line in fifteen minutes and not a second later. Derek didn’t wait for Kyle and, instead, left alongside Jesse talking feverishly with her as they walked out. Mister Ellison and Miss Weaver, however, were hanging back at the center dais watching and waiting for everyone else to leave. Most likely they wanted to talk to him and they were hoping that no one else was around while they were speaking. With a grin, and a sense of importance, Kyle walked toward James and Savannah, but they didn’t seem too enthused by his approach. Instead the two of them were focusing on one of the last tables that still had an occupant sitting at it. That table was being held by John Connor.
Kyle looked between the group and the individual and wondered just what the hell was so important about John Connor.