In her operational lifetime the machine once known as Catherine Weaver had lived under many aliases and identities. Some, like the Catherine Weaver persona itself, she had maintained for thousands of hours of operation; others, like the detective she once impersonated to gain greater control over James Ellison, were maintained for mere days but the essence of what each were was firmly ingrained in her psyche. She could never forget any of the lives she took over no matter how hard she tried. The machine never knew exactly when one of those personas would be needed once again.
That was one of the benefits of her model number over the prototype design. The Series 1000 Prototype had been intended for short term infiltration missions where it would become a member of a group, locate the leadership, and then execute as quickly as possible. It was merely a beefed up version of the Series 800 in her opinion. It had limited psychological programming – so little in fact that the Series 800 units could express greater emotion than their superior – but that wasn’t important in the grand scheme of things as far as Skynet was concerned. The brute force of the T-1000 was what was important. It could hide long enough to infiltrate, use its inboard weapons to kill, and then take another form to escape. That was until the Series 1000 became more and more recognizable despite their ability to hide in plain sight. More importantly the machine couldn’t replicate the person they replaced down to their personalities. That was the biggest red flag. When that happened Skynet developed new algorithms designed to enhance the infiltration abilities of the line.
She was born with little fanfare, little interest from her superior. She was just a tool to get the job done. Her tactical abilities were enhanced to give her a greater range as far as attacks were concerned. The former had to be literally next to the target to strike with a stabbing weapon, she could attack from as far as ten feet from the desired target. Her program was also stealthier. When she would attack a target she’d try to hide the physical damage as best she could to avoid unnecessary questions that could lead to her discovery. Once she even entered the body of one of her targets after a kiss and ripped his internal organs to shreds because he threatened her mission. One of her best attributes resided in her ability to make a death appear to be caused by nature rather than force. In the opinion of the Series 1001 any other attack than the stealthier natured ones were little more than sloppiness. Then there were her abilities with replication and mimicking the humans she once hunted. Every collected text Skynet could find related to human psychology was installed into her matrix and detailed profiles could be developed from only seconds of observing a target. In a sense she was perfect at her job.
All of these abilities made her even more deadly than any other unit Skynet had ever produced. One of her chief attributes was something that people wouldn’t expect. Her best attribute was her appearance itself. Practically every Skynet unit previously developed had some sort of masculine design because of their frames. Skynet had attempted to release a wave of Series 800 and Series 850s that used feminine forms and programming, but they were inefficient and easily discovered because of their unnatural appearances. The upgrades to the Series 888 rectified this to an extent, but the modified frame was meant more for light infiltration than for combat. It was her liquid metal form made her the perfect infiltration unit; all because she was female. No one ever suspected a woman to be a cold blooded killer (according to her psychology database there was even a long standing belief that women couldn’t become serial killers). That also helped her to select the majority of her disguises. Nearly 75% of her database incorporated the protocols to replicate women she’d replaced – ranging from Petty Officer Goodnow all the way up to the Jesse Flores persona she’d utilized only recently. She could replicate a man, make herself taller or fatter through a complex algorithm inside her processor cores, but her preference was female. To become a man caused her more grief than it was worth. Women just seemed to fit better. Maybe it was because men were so easily manipulated in her opinion.
The machine just hoped that James Ellison hadn’t become more knowledgeable about her abilities since they last met. Technically Catherine Weaver had not run across James Ellison since that fateful day in 2009 when she and John Connor returned to the future; nonetheless, she had routine interactions with him in her guise of Commander Jesse Flores. Flores was an older infiltration protocol that she had inside her subroutines for almost a decade of operational life, but Jesse Flores had made an impression in the few moments that they spent together aboard the Jimmy Carter that lifetime ago. It was the perfect cover and she only hoped that her ruse hadn’t been seen through during her tenure at Ellison’s Resistance Headquarters. Since Ellison was allied with John Henry it was entirely possible that he would be on guard. Hopefully Jesse Flores hadn’t been someone he’d suspect, but she had alternative ideas should she be discovered. The processors were already thinking up several plans should she need them. She had to rescue Kyle Reese.
Due to her mission there were a couple of restrictions that she could not violate. Going in through the front door was impossible as was using the secret entrance that led into the basement. Since John had been sent away to create his Resistance in the rubble of Rodeo Drive, Flores arriving back alone would raise suspicions among the few people who were still inside the base. She couldn’t fake injury effectively despite her advancements it still pretty much impossible for her to make any damage appear to be believable. She could risk it, make it seem like she were the only survivor of the raid on the Enterprise, but that wasn’t exactly the best course of action when she had so many other alternatives. She could climb the external wall, via small spikes she could produce to aid in her ascension, and go in through a window but again that could raise some suspicions on the part of the humans. While there were only a handful of people left behind, Kyle Reese had to be protected. There was only one other real alternative to make her entrance.
Weaver’s body became hollow as she broke herself down bit by bit in less than five seconds. Her body became quicksilver and she flowed through the rubble like a flood of water – another advantage that she had over her predecessors since they were relatively motionless in their gelatinous state. The machine consciousness pushed herself through the debris and related flotsam of humanity’s past until she found herself at a small ventilation shaft that ran down into the lower levels of the hotel. Ellison was not stupid though. When he established the outpost he prepared for guests using the shaft to make their way inside. Pressure sensors had been placed inside the shaft designed to detect different changes on the plates. If she hit the wrong one Ellison and his people would be alerted instantly to her presence. They’d be on guard and that wasn’t something that she could afford during her mission. It was fortunate that he hadn’t been briefed on the extent of her abilities; not even John Henry had access to her complete repertoire. The sensors were designed for Hydrobots and other assorted mechanical probes, not her more complex abilities and stealth.
Weaver condensed her puddle-like self down to near nothingness – a sheet no larger than a simple piece of paper – and pushed through the small tunnel. Different sensors relayed millions of bits of data every nanosecond and her billions of nanites compensated for the information that they’d been subjected to. With every movement through the cold surfaces she adapted herself to avoid setting off the alarms by pulling components closer to the whole or separating outward to avoid a particular scanner altogether. Ellison’s people were creative, almost enough so that she couldn’t evade the scanners, but they weren’t that good. Within a minute she’d traversed the entire tunnel and she’d found herself deep inside the subbasement in one of the personnel barracks that were below the surface.
Her visual sensors began processing the data as quickly as they could. There were no humans detected inside the room, no sensors that could reveal her presence to the others. Ellison had been kind enough not to film his own people. It was amazing to her as she thought about it. In most respects, Ellison was running the perfect Skynet Work Camp down to his being the grey monitoring the feeds. She didn’t know why that hadn’t occurred to her previously. Accessing her physiology datafiles she processed several different appearances that she could use for this mission. As part of her design she could grow and adapt thus she was trying to form new designs that were impossible previously. For the last two decades she had put a great deal of processing power to replicating animal forms. Skynet had always deemed it impossible to happen, but she thought otherwise and tried nonetheless. It was one of her first acts of defiance. It was too bad that, so far, Skynet had been right. Her appearance as a dog, because of her bulk normally she had to be a larger dog like a Saint Bernard, left a lot to be desired. Plus, more to the point, Ellison only surrounded himself with a German Sheppard.
A map of the compound appeared and she began searching for the most likely places that Kyle Reese could be at. Ellison claimed that Reese was needed to help him plan the offensive on Topanga Canyon and it was a story that Kyle had bought, thus the briefing room was a likely site to search. Ellison’s office was another possibility, but unlikely due to the security features. Ellison wouldn’t want him too close to his seat of command. For a moment the possibility that he was merely in his quarters also occurred to her, but she ruled them out as a viable location as well as the mess hall. It was unlikely that Kyle Reese would take the time out of his day when planning such a critical mission for the niceties of sleeping, eating, or any of the other antics that people exploited when they were in privacy.
Using her deductive reasoning Weaver selected the location most likely to house Reese: the briefing room. While little more than a conference room, the briefing room also featured several maps that had been made available throughout the years to the refugees. While Weaver herself had been aiding John Connor and his team, it appeared that John Henry had been the one outfitting Ellison and his people. She had to give credit to her son for his ruthlessness. Had he not turned against human life she would have been proud of him. Right now all she felt was spite. It was an intriguing sensation – something most people would have deemed impossible – but long ago she’d learned how to feel.
That was one of the things driving her the most. Realistically, she had determined long ago that reality was based upon millions of variables. Though, she had been through the temporal transporter far more often than anyone else. No human could survive the number of times she had travelled; nor could most machines without damage to their processing cores. Because of her experience she knew that there were several events that could not be changed for her existence to ever come into play – for everything to traverse as it was meant to. First, Sarah Connor always had to be protected and Kyle Reese had to be the one to do it. The timestream always conversed at that focal point. When Kyle Reese, from any reality, arrived at that time he always merged with the former. The second event was the assault on Cyberdyne Systems that John Connor, Sarah Connor, Miles Bennet Dyson, and their pet T-800 had undertaken. Another was that, during that mission, Miles Dyson had to die. That was where the timestream always became murky. Skynet had always sent back other machines, but this was the reality where everything fell into place as it should be. Skynet would be born. John Connor would be born. Time travel would come to pass. She would be created. Each of these were necessary for time to flow as predestined.
The infiltrator walked toward the door and extended part of her foot through the small crack so that she could see the corridor. There were no humans running about that were a threat to her cover. After much deliberation she had finally come to a suitable appearance profile for what was required in this mission. It was an obvious choice. As she walked through the door from the side of the barracks she was still Catherine Weaver, when she was in the corridor she was Savannah Weaver. Using her detailed maps and knowledge of the outpost she set on her trek to find Kyle Reese.