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Old July 25 2009, 04:41 PM   #16
nx1701g
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

^ He'll be around in time (not in the opening chapters though). I will confirm the following Terminator characters will appear in the story in time (but, like John Henry, it won't be immediate):

Cameron
Catherine Weaver
Cromartie
John Henry
T-800 CSM 101

I'm polishing up the first chapter now and I plan to post it later this evening.
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Old July 26 2009, 05:34 AM   #17
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

“The hardest thing is deciding what I should tell you and what not to. Well, anyway, I've got a while yet before you're old enough to understand the tapes. They're more for me at this point... to help get it all straight. Should I tell you about your father? That's a tough one. Will it change your decision to send him here... knowing? But if you don't send Kyle, you could never be. God, you can go crazy thinking about all this... I suppose I'll tell you... I owe him that. And maybe it'll be enough if you know that in the few hours we had together we loved a lifetime's worth.” – Tape 7 of Sarah Connor to her son John Connor, November 10, 1984.


High above the darkness of the nighttime sky over Los Angeles hung in place. For the first time in what felt like ages the blanket of clouds had lifted for even a minute revealing in their wake the brilliance of the world left behind. Like traces from forgotten dreams, high above them the stars hung amid the seas of black. These tiny specks of light were more than just reminders of the past or novelties to be wished upon for some impossible dream. The stars were a reminder to every member of humanity of what could be. These faint lights in the sky had fought impossible fights against the darkness for centuries. Sometimes the darkness won the war and these stars were extinguished forever; other times they kept up their everlasting crusade against the coming of the night.

Just like humanity was doing against the superior forces of Skynet. Since the dark days of Thursday, April 21, 2011 the survivors of the nuclear fires had been fighting against intelligent machines. Millions of people survived the fire and each rose up against Skynet to fight for their planet, for their families, for their friends, simply to live. They were winning against their superior enemies until one fateful day when everything went to hell. The last leaders of the United States Military thought that they’d found their salvation. A secret code was found hidden deep within Skynet’s systems that could be exploited to make the machines shutdown forever. The last of the organized militia struck against Skynet with their combined forces throughout the world in a massive battle that spanned the globe.

They failed. Skynet was smarter than any human had given it credit for. Like a spy from a Cold War Era espionage novel it fed false information and telemetry to each of the human leaders. The codes did work to disable the machines, but Skynet had already built hundreds of new warriors without this fatal flaw. While the military engaged the sleeping tin soldiers these incredible new weapons of war tracked them down. All of humanity’s last refuges were destroyed in balls of flame. The military was eradicated due to their own short sightedness, for ignoring one of their basic tenets. They forgot to respect their enemy and never imagined a machine could be more intelligent than a man.

That was their greatest failing and the sins of the father were being revisited by the children. Humanity was now next to extinct with only a handful of survivors. Most had reverted to their basic instincts of us against them with the them being both human and machine alike. It was survival of the fittest for much of the world with the strong continuing to prey upon the weak. There were some good people left who wanted to help others to survive, but they were as rare as medical supplies. In this war people looted each other stealing anything they needed to survive. Men killed other men over things once taken for granted and a lot of people who could be heroes became nothing more than petty thugs. This wasn’t the world any of them had been meant for.

Most of all John Connor. Ever since he was born John Connor had been locked in mortal combat against the machines and their horrific agents. They tried to kill him before he was born, but one soldier had the courage to go back to try to make things right. That man, Kyle Reese, was his father who gave his life to save him. When he was ten the machines tried again this time sending a machine that they couldn’t trust in the slim chance that it would succeed where so many others had failed. The Resistance had sent back one machine to protect him and it won at the cost of its own survival. They thought they were free, but destiny had a way of coming back to haunt you.

As he stared at the stars his mind wandered back to those days. John had never been an introspective man but he found himself reliving his own past more and more trying to understand it all. Every time he thought of yesterday he found himself returning to that day in Red Valley where his life went back to hell. His mother, Sarah Connor, had convinced herself that they weren’t safe after Charley Dixon asked her to marry him. John thought she was being paranoid, but somehow his mom had been right. Not long after they arrived the war began anew. What he thought they’d prevented, the battle they won against Skynet before it was even born, still had come to life before him. A machine walked into his life.

Cameron. His new protector, she was the epitome of cybernetic perfection. The perfect infiltrator she was the most unassuming of all of Skynet’s machines and she was sent back to protect him. Another advanced model, this one was a Skynet minion, revealed itself in the middle of a crowded Chemistry class. The weird new kid had proven just how weird he was when the training he’d received in South American jungles kicked in and he dove through a window. The machine followed, but he was rescued. They stopped the machine and even travelled to the future, but nothing changed. John Connor – the prophesized leader of the Resistance against Skynet – was still a target.

Then the mystery got deeper. Skynet hadn’t just targeted him but hundreds of people with different missions. It was expanding its powerbase, strengthening itself before the bombs even fell. The Resistance sent back more soldiers to strengthen him (including his own uncle) but there was no escaping destiny. Each of the heroes of the Resistance was killed one by one with Derek dying pretty much before John’s own eyes. His mother was arrested and charged. Against all odds John decided to be the leader he was meant to be. He sent Cameron to rescue Sarah and then they went up against Skynet’s protector: Catherine Weaver of Zeira Corporation. She was building Skynet; they were sure of it.

And they were dead wrong. Catherine Weaver was building something based upon the work Cyberdyne and Andy Goode had completed. While Sarah and John confronted Weaver in the corner office at the top of the tower, Cameron stalked through the basement looking for the machine known as John Henry. Her mission was to terminate; though, that wasn’t what happened. Cameron gave herself freely to the AI living in the body of their one time attacker: Cromartie. While all this was going on below the streets, near the sky one of Skynet’s warriors attacked. A prototype Hunter Killer plowed through the reinforced glass and into the office where the battle was about to begin. Instead of allowing Sarah, John, and former FBI Special Agent James Ellison to be killed, Catherine Weaver saved their lives and revealed herself as the leader of another faction of machines allied with humanity.

Together they raced to stop Cameron from killing the only hope of humanity. They found her deactivated in a chair and John Henry missing. He’d downloaded himself into her processor and reactivated Cromartie’s body. Footloose and fancy free as the saying went, John Henry began his mission. He went after Skynet, but the question was when? Weaver knew the answer and John decided to tag along for the ride. Sarah assured him that she’d stop the war and that he’d find peace in the future. John hoped it was true. He hoped that he’d arrive in the future to see things exactly as he left them in the past. Cameron would be sitting there waiting and John Henry would sacrifice the chip to restore her. It would all be so neatly tied up.

Instead he found the reality he knew would be waiting. The Future War had ravaged the countryside and razed the once proud Zeira Corporation Headquarters. Cameron wasn’t there and neither was John Henry. His only ally was a machine that he didn’t trust in the slightest. Catherine Weaver stood behind him – dressed in the clothes of a refugee – as he scrambled to dress. Humans came not long after and Weaver disappeared. A soldier named Keith “Hunting Wolf” Fuller found him and held him at gunpoint until his commander came and ordered the boy free. The commander was Derek Reese, but he didn’t know John Connor. Then coming from behind was a man John never thought he’d meet. His father: Kyle Reese with a soldier named Star behind him. Dumbstruck both by meeting these people again and then realizing he wasn’t their leader he didn’t know what to do. John Connor’s world came crashing down.

Then it got worse when he saw Cameron walk in. Watching her like a hawk preparing to swoop down on his dinner, John couldn’t believe it. Cameron was back, fully operational, and without a single defect. She was perfection itself and the world suddenly reformed. With amazement he watched as that world came shattering down again. This woman wasn’t Cameron. Machines and animals didn’t mix. Ever since the Infiltrator series were discovered humanity had used dogs to sniff out the machines. No one knew how it worked – maybe they heard the servos working or smelled the synthetic skin worn by the machines – but they always knew. The woman pet the German Sheppard’s head without fear. She smiled at him.

Cameron what did you do? He thought in his head watching the woman. He’d long suspected that there’d been more to her story, but she never revealed the truth of her origins to him. Cameron would answer with ‘You will find out’ or ‘when you become Future John you will understand my origins’ every time. Looking at this woman he knew too well. Cameron had murdered her in order to get close to him, in order to kill him. How had he been so stupid? It was just like when he was the weird new kid that the hottest girl in school wanted to talk to. He should have known, should’ve realized.

That was three years ago and he realized just how different his reality was. This wasn’t the future that his mother had warned him of and things were far darker than he could possibly have dreamed even in his darkest nightmares. There never was a Resistance because he didn’t exist to start it. The story of General Ashdown and his wayward raid had confirmed as much to him. John Connor could feel in every fiber of his being that that was the moment that the Resistance had started, that that was the moment that humanity united and rose up against the machines under his leadership. The prophesy of John Connor, the destiny of the world, all of it had changed because he went after Cameron in a mission to save her synthetic soul. A mission that John Connor had failed in miserably and he had no real chance of completing.

Now he was lying in a ditch half buried under the trash of the past. John could remember the first time that he’d been to this park as a teenager. This was where he’d met his father as a birthday gift from Derek. Now the swing set was a twisted shadow of its former self, the baseball diamond had gone silent, and the merry-go-round had seen its last customer – the faces of the horses horribly disfigured in the flames of Armageddon. What would his mother think if she saw him today lying on the ground like a turtle that couldn’t find its way back to its feet?

For days Connor and the refugee group he’d been accepted by – led by Kyle and Derek – had been continually harassed by a Series 7T Hunter Killer over the last few days as they were on patrol. Despite its incredible bulk it could, somehow, manage to position itself so that they never saw it coming. It’d launch a hit and run attack on them as they tried to find supplies and it always got away. Instead of being the prey it was John’s idea to hunt it this time for a change. Kyle had been opposed to the idea of sacrificing their lives on this mission, but it was Derek who changed his mind. Connor was told to pick a team of people and good hunting before essentially being kicked out of the chamber. They had a day to find it or they’d be forced to move on to a new home. If they didn’t succeed, John and his team would be on their own if they weren’t back in time.

John picked his team but the ranks were slimming. When he arrived in this new, horrific, time Kyle’s team had 89 people living in it. Through Skynet’s attacks over the years they were down to 21 people and they had little chance of replacing those lost numbers. New human soldiers were getting harder and harder to come by while it seemed that the machines doubled their numbers in the blink of an eye. He’d considered suggesting that they capture and reprogram a few of the endoskeletons that they’d come across, but only got looks as if he’d grown a second head on his shoulders. In the reality that he was supposed to lead the Resistance had hundreds of scrubbed infiltrators and endoskeletons on their side, here they had none. It didn’t even seem like they knew that the machines could be reprogrammed.

With little time left Connor picked his team carefully, but quickly. His training had taught him how to pick the best from the bunch with only a cursory glance and he knew that he’d had a good selection. Stories told to him by Derek and Cameron in what seemed like only yesterday gave him a greater insight to the names he picked. Satisfied with the team, together they set off into the wastelands of Los Angeles looking for the cybernetic killer. No matter how many times he’d seen it or heard the stories of it he never was prepared for the reality. Where there were once proud buildings that stood tall representing the success of humanity now all that was left now were the warped skeletons about to fall in on themselves. The debris and other flotsam of the past fluttered in the breeze as the rain fell upon their heads. Bleached white skeletons lined the ground with the majority of the unburied dead having been the victims of Skynet patrols.

It made him sick to his stomach; though he’d never let it show. Instead they pressed on in a standard search pattern that John had been taught as a kid while in the Amazon. Back when other kids were playing Nintendo he was learning valuable life lessons that were paying off. For a long time when he was growing up he’d actually wished that he’d been one of those other kids. Today wasn’t one of them. The entire team of four had gone out on their own patrol route with John taking the one that was the most dangerous. It was intentional – a way of feeling important in a world where he wasn’t really needed anymore. And then he fell and got half buried in the trash of yesterday. It’d be at least an hour before anyone else would be back this way.

That was when he heard it. From nearby the sounds of a metal gears grinding, servomotors flexing echoed in the cool air. A small puddle made of blackish green water rippled with each vibration. There wasn’t time to escape – it was futile anyway because all of his attempts of cleaning himself off where useless earlier anyway – and there was little time to hide. He could always play dead and hope that the machine didn’t scan him to confirm it, but he was John Connor. John Connor didn’t play dead. John Connor fought the machines with his dying breath. At least he had a fully charged plasma rifle and an extra clip. He’d have preferred to get a better vantage; nonetheless, he was forced to work with what he had at his disposal. Maybe the muck would distort the thermal sensor readings.

It marched along like a dutiful little soldier. The Series 7T Hunter Killer – the Spider as they’d come to call it. The name was well deserved. These machines would hunt on the battlefield and capture prey when they least expected it. Sometimes they’d burrow into the ground and wait for a trigger up above to pounce. Other times they’d hide among the debris fields and emerge to attack with brutal force. They had four large, mechanical legs that they’d use for stability or to slash at the enemy. Its arms were something far more deadly. As an older model Skynet hadn’t seen fit to upgrade this machine yet with the latest plasma weapons, but it had machine guns on the tips of its arm-like limbs. From its movements John knew it was in search mode and that it’d keep looking until it found the source of the noise. It probably keyed in on his trying to dig himself out earlier or even something as low as his heart beat. The fact that it hadn’t locked in on him and began to pound the area with machine gun fire was reassuring. That was a fleeting reassurance. Flames erupted from the arms as bullets began to pellet the area. It sounded like an old fashioned hailstorm with each of the bullets digging into the ground. John saw what it was after: a small rat had scurried among the rubble looking for a good meal. The machine had thought it was an enemy.

That was a good thing about the Series 7T; they had an older style logic circuit and were prone to mistakes such as that. It came in handy every now and then. Slowly he lifted his rifle and searched the body of the crablike automaton. His experience had told him that there were two possibilities when facing down a Series 7T machine. You could target the sensor equipment on the front and pray that you knock it out before the machine could retaliate. The other choice was to destroy the battery on the back of the machine and hope that you had enough time to take it out before it switched to the auxiliary power systems. That was the best choice in a normal situation, but this wasn’t a normal day. This was the first 7T that he could remember not having a scouting drone escort surveying the battlefield with their more capable scanners.

Kyle’s team wasn’t deemed a threat. This machine was simply out to harass, not eliminate. If it were to kill them all then it would’ve had a lot more effective support force. It was alone. Finding the sensor eye he knew he’d only have one shot to destroy the scanner, but the machine would triangulate and reset. Even blinded it’d be able to fight back by just firing wildly where the shot originated from. At least the other 20 people would be able to survive. He pulled the trigger of the plasma rifle.

In a flash the eye exploded inward and the machine fell backward. If it could feel pain or any emotion it’d be crying out. Instead the machine did nothing. Circuits rerouted, compensating for the new damage that it’d been inflicted. Communications arrays tried to contact Skynet Central to navigate home for repairs while the rest of the brain calculated the origin of the shot. The machine swung with weapons ready intent on killing whatever had struck against it. As it spun John could hear his mother’s voice in his head.

“That was a stupid move, John; you have to be smarter than that! You’ve gone and gotten yourself killed!”

Another flash of light but it wasn’t at him. The back of the mechanism was engulfed in flames as hot as the sun. The batteries exploded outward destroying the machine’s power systems. It wasn’t able to function. Auxiliary power generation would begin in moments and it’d be after them again. They had to make every shot count. John fired and three more plasma charges impacted against the reinforced armor of the machine. Closing in another four shots slammed against it from behind ripping into the delicate circuitry that powered the machine. Its legs went out from underneath it and it toppled over like a drunken sailor after a long night of celebration.
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Old July 26 2009, 05:34 AM   #18
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

Carefully maneuvering through the remains of the battle droid, his savior came over to help him. She had a broad smile on her lips and she just kept shaking her head as she looked over her friend. The woman held back a laugh as she pulled away the refuse while John pushed at it.

“My hero,” he teased with pangs of memory.

Allison Young pulled at one of the steel beams while Connor pushed, “You know you’re a pretty good damsel in distress. Skynet probably never saw you coming.”

Brushing off his legs and checking himself for any dangerous injuries (hell a cut could be a life threatening injury in this world) Connor got back to his feet and slung the Plasma Rifle over his shoulder. “How about next time we switch roles so that I can be the one to rescue you from the machines?”

“I don’t think I like that idea too much,” she teased but it was the truth to a point. “Your little accident was a good idea, but now Skynet will adapt to it and they may shoot first and never ask questions later next time. I’d prefer my pretty little face not to have any more blemishes thank you very much.”


John laughed lower than he thought it possible for a human to ever laugh. “I think I’d prefer that too.” He stood close to her and wrapped his arm around her waist for support as he tested his footing. There was no pain scorching through his body like fire so that was a good sign that nothing was broken. He’d known that already though. It was a clumsy, schoolboy way of getting to be close to her. She reminded him so much of Cameron by the little things that she’d do. But did he see Allison Young?

“Anything broken?” She cut through his thoughts like a knife.

“I don’t think so,” John replied. “I think I got lucky this time.”

Allison smiled, “I thought it was that destiny of yours. You know you’re supposed to be the one that leads us to the Promised Land.”

He’d never live that down. Three years ago he’d explained all of this, everything about himself, to Kyle, Derek, and Allison after they found him. They’d simply thought he was one of the many skins that’d lost their minds among the ruins of the world. Normally he’d probably have been pushed off on someone else because they’d be afraid of him; his saving grace was that he could carry a gun. That was needed more these days than anything and that saved his life. That gave him a home and the training that he so desperately needed.

“Are you teasing me?”

“Oh Heaven’s no,” she taunted him, “I’d be far too afraid to tease you, John. Terrible things could happen.” Her toothy grin disarmed him.

Connor rolled his eyes, “You damn chatterbox. Let’s go find our people so that we can get back to camp. I’d like to get five minutes rest before we have to move again.”

“Sir,” she saluted, “Yes Sir. Immediately, Sir!”

The man who would have led humanity against the machines shook his head in irritation at her teasing. If she only knew how hard it was for him to face the reality of the world he lived in, of the destiny that he’d been denied. Before he never wanted to see this day, he never wanted to be the leader of humanity. John Connor would’ve been contented to grow old in some menial job as John Reese but now that the darkness had fallen he wished that he could take it all back, that he could be the leader destiny had foretold him to be.

For now he would just have to be contented to be a follower.
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Old July 26 2009, 04:08 PM   #19
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

An interesting start.

If I might make suggestion? It might be desirable to break it up into slightly shorter paragraphs. Whilst what you have written is fine for a printed page, on a monitor screen shorter paragraphs are easier to read.

Also there are a couple of slightly cumbersome moments. The line "High above the darkness of the nighttime sky over Los Angeles hung in place." doesn't actually make sense, and the phrase 'high above' is reused a couple of sentences later.

Now when I started fan fic I'd found myself doing that sort of thing all the time. I attempt to prevent it by writing it in wordpad, saving it, leaving it for a while then reading it with fresh eyes. I'd then make any adjustments I need to before posting it.


Please don't be disheartened by my comments! I'm eager to see how this story develops.

There is some good descriptive work here, particularly the John vs. 7T fight. Keep it up!
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Old July 27 2009, 08:27 PM   #20
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

The Badger wrote: View Post
An interesting start.

If I might make suggestion? It might be desirable to break it up into slightly shorter paragraphs. Whilst what you have written is fine for a printed page, on a monitor screen shorter paragraphs are easier to read.

Also there are a couple of slightly cumbersome moments. The line "High above the darkness of the nighttime sky over Los Angeles hung in place." doesn't actually make sense, and the phrase 'high above' is reused a couple of sentences later.

Now when I started fan fic I'd found myself doing that sort of thing all the time. I attempt to prevent it by writing it in wordpad, saving it, leaving it for a while then reading it with fresh eyes. I'd then make any adjustments I need to before posting it.


Please don't be disheartened by my comments! I'm eager to see how this story develops.

There is some good descriptive work here, particularly the John vs. 7T fight. Keep it up!
These are all good points. I really like the world you are creating. Keep it up!
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Old July 28 2009, 03:09 AM   #21
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

The next update will come within the next two - three days. I have read over your comments and will refer to them with upcoming entries.
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Old July 31 2009, 08:34 AM   #22
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

The smell was the worst part of going home. No matter how many times he entered the tunnels beneath Los Angeles the putrid odor that greeted him always made John Connor think about running back into the wasteland to deal with more machines. Allison had assured him that you adjusted to it and that after a while you didn’t really notice it anymore. As they crawled through the broken storm drain it didn’t take much for him to realize that Allison had the same grimace he did.

“Thought you got used to it?” He asked as he pulled the brittle metal bars back in.

She titled her head and brushed her hair behind her head, “You do; it just takes time. I’m not there yet either.”

“I hope that day comes sooner rather than later,” he heard her booted foot connect with the rung of the ladder. He followed her, “That smell could make a rat gag. Not that I’m complaining; at least it’s warm.”

“You complain? Perish the thought of that,” Allison climbed down to the sewers and stepped onto the ledge. “John Connor doesn’t complain, he leads in an emo way.”

She couldn’t see but he was rolling his eyes, “Then why am I behind you?”

“Beauty before age? Put your best foot forward?” She joked but it wasn’t funny.

John followed as they searched in near total darkness for the small doorway that led home. The dark wasn’t by choice or necessity, it was a result of fate. Many of the survivors they’d uncovered had assumed that the darkness made it harder for the machines to find them or to break in. The truth was the opposite. They were in darkness because they hadn’t found any ways of keeping the tunnels lit. It was hell on all of them because the machines themselves did find their way down into the conduits beneath the city every now and then. Hydrobots had been known to swim through the muck every so often. One of them got poor Ortiz after he’d come home from a raid on a Skynet supply convoy only days ago.

Living in the sewers wasn’t really something that John hated because he always had a feeling that he’d one day be living in them even if they’d won and Judgment Day had been prevented. Connor had always assumed that he’d be living in the muck trying to stay off the grid. If there was one thing that Sarah Connor had drilled into him it was that he needed to stay protected; he needed to keep himself out of any databases and especially away from a computer. Where better to do that than underground with the rats? Now he lived with rats and the last survivors of the human race in tunnels that were just really big bomb shelters.

Though the designers never really intended these tunnels for the purpose they were drafted into. While they were planning the Raid on ARTIE, as they joking called it, Derek had told him about the future a bit while they were getting ready to break into the tunnels beneath City Hall. He told him the history and how they were built as a means for the employees of City Hall to escape if the Soviet Union ever launched a nuclear war. When the bombs fell and Skynet brought about that disaster from the darkest nightmares of the Cold War, they fulfilled their original mandate and then some. Derek had taken Kyle and, together, they lived inside the conduits with a handful of other survivors instead of using them to escape. Instead of moving on like so many of the survivors they were still there.

Allison slammed her fist against the metal slab in the secret knock that they’d devised. “Young – Peek-a-boo 1138.” It was the stupidest pass code that John had ever heard, but it was a pretty clever one if you thought about it. How could a machine ever come up with that nonsense? How could a human? Allison Young was good with nonsense though and she was good at being chatty. It was amazing how different she was from Cameron. Allison was just an ordinary person who preferred to have honesty and open dialogue about things; she loved life and embraced every moment. She could be a little bit too talkative at times and asked more questions than Cameron ever did, but he’d welcomed those facts about her. She was a shock to his system after so long with his guardian. Cameron how could you kill someone like Allison even as one of Skynet’s many minions?

They walked through the door and the pack of dogs ran right up to them and started to sniff them vivaciously – almost knocking Allison over from their excited jumping. Allison ran her hand along the lead dog’s head and John just stood behind like the loner of the pack. He always liked dogs but tried to keep his distance from these ones. They were soldiers, guardians, not pets. The door guard – Andre Sumner – nodded politely to welcome them back to their makeshift home.

John had got to know Andre pretty well since he’d come to the future. Derek had spoken highly of Andre in the past and it was strange for John to finally meet the genuine article. In some respects the two men were entirely different people because of their experiences, but the base was still the same. Andre had grown up in the remains of Louisiana on the Bayou. He’d migrated west and had been rescued from an HK patrol by Kyle. Just like in the reality where Connor created the Resistance, Kyle invited Andre to join them. He was good with a gun and he had a natural talent for survival and those were qualities that made him a necessary addition to any war. It was funny though how important Sumner had been, or at least could have been if given the chance. When Kyle Reese first went back to save the life of Sarah Connor, Andre Sumner made the trip too but there was an accident. Sumner died in transit and never materialized in 1984. Kyle actually looked for him for a moment or two after he arrived, but found only the darkness. John would give him a second chance to be a hero and sent him back to help Derek Reese during his recon mission looking for Andy Goode’s Turk. In that world he was killed by a machine that had replaced a Program Specialist in Los Angeles’ husband. He wondered what this particular Sumner’s fate would be. He wondered what destiny had in store for himself.

“Kyle wants ta see ya, John,” he said with his thick accent.

“Wonder what that’s all about?” Cameron’s doppelganger asked no one in particular.

It was Sumner’s voice than answered her hypothetical, “Dunno. Nobody tells me nothin’. I just play doorman.”

“We’ll have to change that soon,” Connor had wanted him on the battlefield with him for a while now. John knew that the man could handle the tin cans and was meant for more than this.

Allison kept playing with the dogs but interrupted, “Anyone else out there tonight?”

“Just Mason and his team,” the guardian informed. “They’ll be comin’ in soon enough.”

Cullen came by carrying his plasma rifle for the changing of the guard and greeted the team with a grunt. The battle weary Connor nodded to him in as nice a gesture as he could muster then returned his attention to his friends. “Guess I better go see what Kyle wants. Maybe he’s found a chocolate bar and wants to share?”

“Keep dreaming Connor,” Allison shot back at him. “More likely he wants you to shine his boots.”

“Wouldn’t surprise me,” John headed down the tunnel to see what Kyle wanted. His finely attuned senses spoke volumes. Behind him Allison headed off to the mess to get something to eat – scraps of bread most likely because that was the only thing on the menu – and Sumner joined her from the sounds of it. The flames coming from a gutted television set kept him from hearing what Cullen was up to, but he did hear a chair slide out.

As he passed by another tunnel’s intersection he heard something skittering about behind a partition. While walking a small child popped up and point a toy gun at him that looked like a phaser from Star Trek. On instinct he slid the gun’s barrel toward the child, but his senses grabbed hold and reminded him that this wasn’t a threat. It was just a girl who was playing a game trying to pass the time. He made clicking noises like his plasma rifle in role play and the girl fell back behind the wall like a duck in a shooting range.

A broad smile took over John’s face at the girl’s antics. It was sad that she was trapped in this world as a victim of circumstances that came about before she was even born. That little girl was hunted, prey for a tin can that wanted her dead because she was flesh and bone. John hoped that a world would one day come where that girl didn’t have to live in such fear. As a Centaur patrol rolled overhead (shaking the ground as if it’d been an earthquake) he had a bad feeling that day would never come. It would never come for any of them.
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Old July 31 2009, 08:34 AM   #23
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

Kyle Reese stood in the center of what was once the Emergency Command and Control Center for Los Angeles County staring at an old fashioned paper map. It was a stark contrast to the broken down world that they all lived in. Most of the equipment was broken, the papers and files in tatters, but this map was pristine. It was as if it’d just been freshly printed and delivered to the table straight from the cartographer; in many ways that was what had happened. The image was just as perfect – clear and crisp – but there was writing scattered throughout the map in various points. Different icons and circles were placed at strategic locations over the topography and the text looked like it’d been printed by a machine instead of being written after the fact. Kyle just kept staring at it like it was the key to buried treasure.

“You can’t be serious,” challenged Derek Thomas Reese from the raised platform at the rear of the room. “It’s a trap; pure and simple.”

Kyle studied the map like an historian reading a Gutenberg Bible, “I really don’t think so, brother. We’ve gotten messages like this before. They turned out okay and gave us some of our greatest victories against the machines. Avila Beach comes to mind.”

“That wasn’t because of some damned mysterious benefactor or anything like that. That was because of some good old fashioned humans sticking their boots up the machine’s asses. Those papers came in handy, but they were far from sure fire wins for us.” He leaned against the railing and applied a bit more weight to it than he normally would. “They’re playing us. The machines have been playing a game and basically giving us a few minor victories and supplies and crap that they really don’t need anyway. Kyle I’m telling you this is a trap.”

“Don’t you think I’ve thought of that?” He held his index finger below their current location and ran his other hand to a point labeled Topanga. “But this is too important to pass up. If Skynet’s planning to wipe us out for good this might be our salvation. This bunker in Topanga Canyon is supposed to have one of Skynet’s most advanced weapons hidden there and it’s lightly defended.”

Derek pounded his hands into the railing, “Because it’s deep in Skynet occupied territory! Why put an army around something that’s in the middle of the heart of your territory?”

“Goddamn it so are we!” There was fire in his eyes as he looked back at his brother. “What isn’t Skynet occupied territory these days? Where don’t they have the advantage over us? We’re dying, the machines are winning, and we need to find at least one last victory and this is it. We’re in the heart of Skynet territory and we’re going to fight them. We both made a promise to fight and that’d what we’re going to do.”

“I don’t trust these plans,” he said, “and I don’t trust the source. Why is he so secretive? Why doesn’t he reveal himself to us?”

Kyle smiled defused, “Whoever said it was a he?”

“How the hell would you know? I don’t think SHE has shown herself to you either,” the older brother taunted with a hint of anger in his tone. The fact that they had never seen this benefactor, this philanthropist, had always struck him as odd. It’d always made him certain this was a trap.

“Never said she did,” behind Derek the older door opened and John Connor stepped over the threshold and joined them. John was one of the most gifted soldiers Kyle had ever met in his entire life; and he literally fell out of the sky to join them. He almost had a career that ended before it started though. When he appeared he stole Kyle’s coat and slid it on over his naked body for cover. He was found a few minutes later wrapped up in it like a blanket as he tried to avoid one of the dogs. Fuller tried to blast him, Derek teased him about wearing the coat, and Kyle just let him keep it.

John stood next to Derek and rested his hands on the railing, “You asked to speak to me?”

The younger Reese nodded, “Yeah I did.” He turned back to the table and motioned for Connor to join him, but Derek just stood there like a statue watching them. “Derek you’re gonna want to see this too. I have a feeling that this is something you’re going to need to know about.”

“I’ve seen enough,” he spat back at his sibling. “I have other things that need my attention.”

Kyle peered over his shoulder, “Nothing as important as this. Get your ass down here because this is something that you’re definitely going to want to see.”

The older Reese boy rolled his eyes but relented with a loud and angry sigh. He joined his younger brother and (unknown to him) nephew at the table. Kyle pointed out several of the locations circled on the map. Even though this was a briefing, Kyle hid part of the truth from John despite his knowing of the boy’s so called destiny. “We intercepted these plans from one of the machines in the area recently. It was transporting these to a Skynet outpost near Baja. These are detailed schematics and plans for a Skynet Processing Node recently built and activated in Topanga Canyon. This base has a supposed doomsday weapon that’ll win the war for the machines if they get it online. We’re going after it.”

Looking at the plans John kept his poker face. “Topanga Canyon?” He asked astonished. “There’s not a damn thing there that’s important.”

Just as Kyle was holding back vital information so was John. Topanga Canyon was one of the most important battles that the Resistance ever fought according to Derek and, in a way, Kyle. Not long after his Uncle Derek had introduced him to the younger versions of themselves, Derek had told him about what he’d found out from General Justin Perry about the mission where Kyle was declared missing in action. The Resistance attacked a small Skynet outpost in Topanga Canyon after stealing the information regarding it and a doomsday weapon from the processors of a Series 800 infiltrator that they’d reprogrammed. There they found a fully operational Time Displacement Sphere and all the required technology to travel both forward and backward in time.

How could they have obtained this information was a question that plagued him? No one in the refugee camp that Kyle was running could even pass for a computer user except for maybe John and he hadn’t used a computer since he jumped forward in time. There were no scrubbed infiltrators being used by any human that he knew of and, honestly, John couldn’t remember having ever seen an infiltrator in the three years that he’d been here. The dogs in this reality weren’t used to sniff out machines, they were used to find humans and get them to safety from the machines. The Series 800 endoskeleton did exist though and it was an exact match for what was beneath the skin of Uncle Bob. What delivered these plans? Skynet wouldn’t send paper copies of anything and backups could just be made digitally. Could it have been Catherine Weaver or John Henry that did this? John still hadn’t found out what happened to her after she disappeared on him after they arrived. Was she secretly helping Kyle and what was his version of the Resistance?

“These seem to suggest the exact opposite,” Kyle Reese responded to his accusation. “Whatever’s there this machine was delivering these plans somewhere and it was important enough that Skynet wanted a hard copy backup.”

“Yeah it was delivering them somewhere. To us laying a trap,” snorted Derek in contempt.

John had to play it up, “I’d have to agree. The machines are planning something for us. They want us to go after this… whatever this base is because they haven’t been able to find us. They probably want to see our numbers and get us all in one place so we’re easier to kill.” He couldn’t oversell being against this idea because he was, honestly, all for it.

“If that were the case why didn’t they just send a swarm of endos in and kill us all? We destroyed this one and they know where their machines are. It’s been over four days since we got these plans and we haven’t been attacked yet that I know of,” pointed out their makeshift leader.

“What about the Series 7T that I just hunted down?” It was a fair question.

Which Kyle had an answer to, “It was already harassing us long before we got these plans, Connor. Plus there was something else that was just as amazing as those plans with the machine that Skynet would want a backup for.” He pulled a file folder out from beneath the chart. He opened the manila folder and a schematic diagram of the 800 Series rested on top with a scattering of pictures beneath. “These were there too just waiting for us like presents under a Christmas tree. Full schematics of the Eight Hundred Series.”

“A lot for a lowly machine to play courier for,” John pointed out. It was possible a machine really did take these to an outpost to be backed up, but he knew something was being kept below the surface. The truth was being hidden. “Something you want to tell me? Like where these really came from maybe?” John looked at the file. All of this seems a little bit too convenient for us to recover from just one machine.”

Derek answered with a voice laced in sarcasm, “Thank you.”

“I’ll tell you the truth on a need to know basis,” Reese flipped over the photo and a blurry image of a man was on the next page. John recognized it immediately. “This is what I’m worried about though.” He showed the photo to both Derek and John, “This man is a machine. Skynet’s found a way to make skin for endoskeletons. With this technology we’re defenseless. The machines can stroll right passed our forward guards and can position itself deep inside our defenses until the time it called to strike against us.” Kyle let out a long breath and stared at John, “But you knew that already. Didn’t you?”

John shot his head in Reese’s direction, “Excuse me?”

“When you first appeared you mentioned this very fact,” Kyle reminded.

Derek chimed in, “That’s right. You screamed at Fuller that you weren’t metal. Later you warned us about a lot of different machines that would be coming. This was one of them wasn’t it? The skin-job?”

John smiled, “The timing’s about right. My mother always told me that they’d be coming in 2027. Here we are and here they are right on time.” He picked up the photo and studied it, “This is a Cyberdyne Systems Model One Oh One. He’s not the only one though. There are more. A hell of a lot more. Some are tall, some are short; some are fat, some are thin; some have long hair, some have short hair.”

“Enough,” Derek had had enough of it. “So you’re telling me these things can look like people now and they can come in basically every shape, size, and color?”

“Yeah,” John nodded, “Sometimes they even walk alike and talk alive.”

Kyle looked at his brother Derek, “Double security. We need to keep an eye out for these things.”

“Like that’ll do any good,” the older Reese walked toward the exit and held his hand on the handle. “You have any bright ideas for sniffing these things out since they can be literally anyone?”

“Good choice of words,” John answered him. “Dogs. Don’t ask me how but they seem to know humans from machines. Using them can help.”

The younger Reese tried to lighten the mood despite it being so dark, “Just don’t bark up the wrong tree.”

“That’s not very damn funny.” The older Reese opened the door, “Man’s best friend indeed.” He left the room to shore up their defenses leaving Kyle and John behind.

It didn’t take a psychic to tell where Derek Reese fell on the side of this mission. John leaned against the side of the table and stared at the doors long after his uncle had left the room. He let out a long breath and shook his head, “He’s got some strong opinions about this doesn’t he?”

Kyle peeked at the closed doors, “He’s got strong opinions about everything these days, but I’ll deal with Derek. You just worry about this little gift of ours. What do you think of it? You were holding back; never do that in my presence.”

At least he knew where he got that little piece of his personality from. John hated people that held things back, especially important things. Like this mission, for example, the fact that Kyle or Derek had neither one said specifically where these files came from was an important omission. The source was need to know in Kyle’s eyes and John didn’t find need to know acceptable in this case. This wasn’t his Resistance, but as dwindling as their numbers were everyone needed to know as much as they possibly could about what they were facing and how to stop the machines. Everything was need to know.

Would he feel the same way if he were in charge making the big decisions?

“I think this is something that we need to do,” John revealed looking again at their chart. “Not because Skynet has some sort of weapon there, not because it could have the mother lode of supplies, we need to do this because of our men. For their morale.”

The other man looking at the chart scratched his face, “Why’s that?”

“Because these twenty-one people are for all we know what’s left of humanity. They need some sort of victory against the machines and, even if it’s a small one, they need to think that it was something far greater. They’re losing hope, they’re losing energy, and they’ve given up. They don’t think Skynet can be defeated.”

Reese nodded, “I wish I could say I didn’t share their outlook. But I swore on my father’s deathbed that I would fight the machines and I’d survive. Derek made the same deal so we’re both going to fight until the machines have killed us or we’ve killed them. I agree with you. The men need some sort of victory because they have given up and they don’t think Skynet will ever die. We need to show them just what our determination can pull off.”

“I wish I knew what was inside that base though. You’re supposed to be the Great John Connor. Do you know anything about this base?”

For John need to know was again in his corner. The question was what would he answer?

Leaning over the table and looking at the map of Topanga Canyon he shook his head and made sure his poker face was stable, “I wish I knew, but this is beyond me.” Behind him a red strobe light started to flash and an alarm wailed throughout the cramped confines that had been their home for so long. The machines had found them and were coming.
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Old July 31 2009, 08:35 AM   #24
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

Hope everyone enjoys my latest additions to the story. This is also by 25,000 post to the Trek BBS.
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Old July 31 2009, 01:05 PM   #25
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

You're doing a good job with the characters, Kyle's intensity and John's propensity to live in his head and hold things close to his chest, particularly.

I like Allison, and she's a great reminder of what Cameron really is or was ... they're so different.

Thanks again for continuing this story!

PS Wow, 25,000 posts -- that's a whole lot of posting!
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Old July 31 2009, 03:19 PM   #26
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

An excellent continuation. Like Kes7 says, it provides a neat contrast between Alison and Cameron.

The sequence where John played shooting back at the little girl could have worked badly, as a lazy copy of a scene from the first movie. In practice though it served as a reminder of the similarities between John and his father.

Keep it up!
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Old August 1 2009, 07:21 AM   #27
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

I've begun work on the next chapter and I'll probably be posting on Saturday evening, Sunday morning.

kes7 wrote: View Post
You're doing a good job with the characters, Kyle's intensity and John's propensity to live in his head and hold things close to his chest, particularly.

I like Allison, and she's a great reminder of what Cameron really is or was ... they're so different.

Thanks again for continuing this story!

PS Wow, 25,000 posts -- that's a whole lot of posting!
One of the things that always struck me about Summer Glau was she always plays characters that are a bit too guarded and quiet. I was reading recently an interview with Joss Whedon where he was talking about Summer joining Dollhouse and how he wanted her to play a chatty character. When I rewatched the scenes of Allison's interrogation from Allison from Palmdale I thought about it and Allison really is a lot like the opposite of Cameron. She's really interesting to write for and this is the second time I've got to write for her. She's more fun now because the Series Finale gave me a lot of material to work with.

The hardest character to write for though is Derek Reese, but it's not the character that gives me trouble. Derek is a typical soldier at first, but he has more layers to him than just that. He's technophobic, cynical, blunt, sarcastic, ruthless, and at times; borderline psychotic. What scares me is everytime I write the character I don't hear the character; I actually hear my older brother. They're the same person in many respects; both soldiers, both hate technology, it's hard to write for him at times because it reminds me of him so much (my brother is on his third tour of duty in Iraq). I don't plan to use Derek all that much, sorry to his fans, because of this and because I wrote for him very often in Terminator: Survival Instinct.

As for 25,000 posts. It amazes me too. That's even with a two year break from the BBS where I didn't post a thing.

The Badger wrote: View Post
An excellent continuation. Like Kes7 says, it provides a neat contrast between Alison and Cameron.

The sequence where John played shooting back at the little girl could have worked badly, as a lazy copy of a scene from the first movie. In practice though it served as a reminder of the similarities between John and his father.

Keep it up!
That was one of the harder scenes to write and, honestly, I went back to it about half a dozen times to rework little pieces of it. I almost didn't even write it in because I didn't want it to be a carbon copy of the scene, but I realized just how much potential it had. In The Terminator Kyle did it and probably didn't think about what he was doing; for John there's more to it. He knew about the machines and he wasn't able to stop them. This will be touched upon again once or twice. One thing about when I write you never know what little things could end up being incredibly important to the story.
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Old August 2 2009, 08:16 AM   #28
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

Update: I've got the base of Chapter 3 written, but I'm not going to be posting it until later Sunday evening now as I want to polish a few things with it before actually submitting it.
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Old August 3 2009, 12:56 PM   #29
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

Outstanding so far NX...I'm going to have finally read your other two Terminator stories as well I'm interested in how you're going to incorperate the alternate universes characters into TSCC and how you treat Katherine Brewster.
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Old August 3 2009, 08:37 PM   #30
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

I am liking this but question: Who is "Los Angeles' husband?" I didn't get the line.
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