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Old January 6 2009, 07:14 AM   #31
Tim
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Re: Terminator: Identity Crisis

nx1701g wrote: View Post
Just wanted to let everyone know: the finale will be Sunday. There are a couple of more entries prior to it though.
Looking forward to them!
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Old January 6 2009, 07:27 AM   #32
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Re: Terminator: Identity Crisis

Sergeant Joe Griffin stood with his back against the wall and clutching hold of the phased plasma rifle that he carried. He’d been leader of this fire team for only a month but he knew that he had the best of the best under his command. His Rifleman – Bryce Stark – stood across from him holding the rifle in a ready position. His wasn’t a standard fire team though. Instead he had two additional Riflemen (Tony Wilkins and Sonya Ballantine) rather than the heavy automatic weapon. As the other two were moving ahead Joe wished he had the automatic. It would have been more helpful. They hadn’t taken fire yet, but Griffin found it best to already be in the rush formation rather than waiting until the shots started. When ‘fire’ and ‘assist’ were in place, Griffin and Stark ran ahead of them to the next checkpoint.

As they reached the intersection Griffin brought out a mirror and exposed it to the open corridor. All of the civilians had been locked down in security chambers so that they could be kept safe. It was weird to see the corridor empty like this but it was the lesser of two evils. The last thing they need was a Trip Eight taking a civilian hostage or a rook shooting him. Not that there were many civilians nowadays. Everyone including children had a job to do in this future war and many of them picked up a weapon after a while and joined in the fight. Though they didn’t need any shiny rooks or civvies to mess things up and that would be what they probably did.

Stopping this bastard was the objective. Connor himself had ordered that the masculine infiltrator be destroyed but he wanted the feminine one taken prisoner and brought directly to him and Danny Dyson. It was no secret that Connor was spending more time with the machines these days that his own people. Maybe he wanted to spend some ‘quality time’ with her. Hell if it was true it had the appearance of Major Young there weren’t many men who wouldn’t want to spend some quality time with the machine. They were fully functional after all. So what if they faked it.

“I don’t see nothin’ top,” said Stark as he peered down the corridor. “Whatever happened here I think we missed it.”

“Don’t count on it,” was Griffin’s only answer. Crouching down and resting his back against the wall he waited. When Connor gave the orders they said under no uncertain terms that the Quadling Country – named after the southern division of the Land of Oz in L. Frank Baum’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz – of the base had to be kept isolated and that nothing was to make it into the chamber. Griffin and his team were the closest so they went there to wait. So far the radio reports showed without a shadow of a doubt that that was exactly where the male replica was going.

And they were going to be ready. He motioned to the two behind him to move across the hall and into the ready position. The parallel corridor was being held down by Sergeant Harris’ team and he was a metal buster that the men in the Resistance feared being assigned to. He’d hold them off. Harris had to. As they moved into their new positions Griffin knew in his heart of hearts that this was going to go badly for the Resistance. There was something in the air, a sort of finality to it that he couldn’t quite place. Everything was calm and perhaps a bit too calm for what a full scale invasion should be.

As they waited Griffin couldn’t help but think about his life and everything that had happened to him in it. He pulled off his hat and ran his fingers through the barely present hair on top of his head. Ever since he joined the Resistance it felt like he needed hair in a short cut that was almost not even there. It was like an unwritten rule. Mainly he liked it because it meant that he didn’t have to worry about the lice problem that commonly afflicted the Resistance bases. Bonnie had had problems with it and she missed his long locks, and he missed her.

It’d been months since they last saw each other. Joe and Bonnie met during the Battle of Avila Beach. They fought together and were able to take down an HK Bomber during the fight. The Resistance won that day and they all celebrated together. After that they were almost inseparable. Then Bonnie was reassigned to Oregon Bunker and they hadn’t seen each other ever since. She was probably dead after Oregon was invaded – the reports said that everyone was killed – and that was something that Joe had faced. Some of them would have assumed that they would see each other again in the next life if something like that had happened. Joe didn’t believe that. There was no next life; there was only the here and now. As the prospects of death came more and more close Griffin noticed members of his own team seemed to be in silent prayer of one form or another. He couldn’t bring himself to it. It wouldn’t do any good.

In the distance the team could hear a scream of pain and the blasts from a plasma rifle. Pulled instantly to the ready his fingers moved the rifle almost by automatic. Pulling on the bolt the whine of the plasma gun told him that they were ready. Joe looked around the corner in time to see a Resistance private in fatigues running down the corridor. He was bloody and bruised with his uniform in tatters. Behind him walking in a perfectly straight line they saw the massive machine. It had no visible damage of any sort on its flawless body. The dark brown eyes though were penetrated by a crimson glow.

“Run!” The young private screamed trying to avoid the tin can. As he tried to dive around a corner three rounds ripped into the back of the young man and he slammed against Wilkins. Blood was pouring out of the kid’s back, dead instantly from the perfect shots ripping his spine into pieces. Before any of them could fire again though the machine had disappeared down another corridor and was nowhere to be found. The only door into the chamber was the one at the end of the hallway they were guarding; it would have to come this way to get there. Ballantine was on it though. She picked up a popper and tossed it down the hallway. If it spotted a machine or any movement it would start to pop and warn them. Proximity detectors – the Resistance’s best stolen friend.

“It… it… it killed him! It just… killed him!”

Wilkins wasn’t prone to panic and had seen his share of death, but the majority of the Resistance Soldiers had always seen Kansas Bunker as impenetrable. Now a machine was roaming its halls murdering loyal soldiers among its ones pristine walls. As the Team Leader it was Griffin’s job to bring him back into the fold.

“Suck it up, trooper. That thing’ll be comin’ and we have to kick its ass from here back to Skynet. So grab your gun and watch that hall.” Sometimes it took a firm hand and not the kind words for a solider to get things done. The kid nodded in agreement and underwent a restoration. Before Joe’s eyes he was a bad ass Resistance Soldier again. It was a beautiful sight to behold.

The men and woman on the fireteam pointed their guns at the end of the hallway where Wilkins and Ballantine were standing. If the TripEight was going to get to the chamber it had to go that way. It probably anticipated the popper so it wouldn’t go that way. This was the only option. They all had their rifles pointed when suddenly bricks in the walls slammed outward with incredible fury. Two arms flew out from the openings and wrapped around Wilkins’ chest and pulled the young crybaby back. Bones broke, blood started to rush from his eyes, mouth, and ears and the cybernetic organism squeezed the youngster like a boa constrictor preparing for a meal. Blood and pulp began to drop to the ground.

“Forgot they could do that,” mumbled the team leader, “Sorry kid.” They began to fire at the wall and the machine followed suit with its own weapon. During the fight it had acquired a phased plasma rifle just like the ones that the humans were using. Energy pulses flashed through the cramped quarters and struck against the walls. Smoke billowed from the freshly cut perfect circles as debris was thrown outward in tiny pebbles. It was clear though that the machine had the advantage right now. It had a barrier shield thanks to the remaining brick, the humans were mostly exposed. If only they had grenades stronger than those poppers, but all had been worried about damaging their own home; too bad the machine didn’t share that sentiment.

A plasma blast struck forth from the skinjob’s rifle and slammed into the face of Stark. The man’s head exploded outward like a pumpkin being smashed after Halloween. Ballantine fell back on her feet as the machine stepped through the wall. Griffin returned fire on the tin can and scored a hit against its back. In retaliation it picked up Sonya and threw her at him. The machine had been good in its calculations. Sonya slammed right against Joe’s rifle and knocked it away. The impact had dislodged the power pack too and it skittered over the floor. Griffin pushed back with his legs and dragged his butt as he tried to get away from the approaching machine.

Without effort the replica of William – who the machines called Cromartie – bent down and picked Joe up. It didn’t kill him though and brought him instead into the main corridor. With proficiency it walked to the door to Quadling Country and showed it to the human.

The machine’s voice was cold, “Open the door.”

“Go to hell!” Spat Sergeant Griffin while trying to catch his breath. The grip of the Triple Eight tightened around the human’s neck.

It twisted him around and looked him right in the eye, “I am unable to comply. You will release the door.”

“I will not!”

The machine looked at the retinal scanner, “Yes, you will.” It turned on its booted heel and walked to midway down the corridor to the intersection. The replica pulled Joe close and stared right into his eyes – so close that the Resistance’s Sergeant could swear he smelled lubricant. “I hope that you have a nice trip.”

“Wha…”

Before the question could be asked the machine had thrown the human like a fast ball against the reinforced door. Upon impact the metal door cracked and groaned causing stress points to form on the body. A quick scan utilizing Cromartie’s advanced sensors gave it everything that it needed. With rapid punches that bloodied the synthetic knuckles on its mechanical hands it broke through the door and – when suitably afflicted – pulled apart the remnants. It stepped through and into its target: the time displacement chamber.

Through all of the calculations that the infiltrator had run while on this assignment to go back to the past it hadn’t anticipated what was on the other side of the door. In the center of the room was a large circular chamber surrounded by what it calculated to be a three story drop. A single, older, catwalk barely capable of holding the weight of a human connected it to the main chamber. Twin computer consoles were sitting on both sides of the catwalk with their human operators scrambling to hide. Though that was to be expected – even a T-888 Series was to be expected.

“You will proceed no further,” said the other machine with a thick Austrian accent filling the auditory sensors. It moved into a classic sparring stance which Cromartie had taken during training exercises. The memory circuits of the Skynet loyal machine fired quickly and determined everything that it could about the Model 101.

Both machines ran at each other at full speed ready to fight, ready to terminate.
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Old January 6 2009, 07:27 AM   #33
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Re: Terminator: Identity Crisis

Tim M wrote: View Post
nx1701g wrote: View Post
Just wanted to let everyone know: the finale will be Sunday. There are a couple of more entries prior to it though.
Looking forward to them!
I hope that you like tonight's special guest (I had to do it). Well that and the references to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
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Old January 6 2009, 08:23 AM   #34
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Re: Terminator: Identity Crisis

nx1701g wrote: View Post
Tim M wrote: View Post
nx1701g wrote: View Post
Just wanted to let everyone know: the finale will be Sunday. There are a couple of more entries prior to it though.
Looking forward to them!
I hope that you like tonight's special guest (I had to do it). Well that and the references to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
I do like. Looking forward to the next installment in your serialized story.
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Old January 7 2009, 08:12 AM   #35
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Re: Terminator: Identity Crisis

Corporal Decker was not a happy man. He’d got to watch everything from the crow’s nest of a burnt out carcass of a long destroyed building. With only small obstructions through the smart scope the Corporal got to watch what he thought was Allison Young and her droid coming home after being missing for so long. While considering how this could change everything and maybe restore the faith John Connor by giving him something to fight for again other than those damned machines, what he’d heard on the radio squib brought that all to a crashing end. Everything in his life was like a train wreck and this whole sordid adventure was one of the biggest train wrecks in history.

The older sniper’s arms hurt like hell after rushing down the metal remnants of the building. As he rushed it wasn’t surprising that he’d managed to cut the hell out of his hands. Moreover his back was killing him from the heavy rifle that he had slung over it. When he selected his weapon for this little guard duty it was power over weight that won out in his decision. The .50 caliber sniper rifle had a hell of a lot of stopping power. It could take down an HK Flyer in some most cases and even blow the head clean off of an endo with a good enough shot. Nevertheless, the weight was that of a small child. As he had reached the boneyards at the base of the tower it was obvious that he’d pulled something during his rushed descent.

All of this though wasn’t what was bothering him. Sure his back burned like it was on fire, although he was a soldier in a war against intelligent machines. If something didn’t hurt on your body at least once a day then something was definitely amiss. What was bothering him was that he was pushing himself so hard to protect the damned John Connor. True the General was their leader and many believed him to be humanity’s savior, but Decker’s faith in his was rattled. Now the very power pack that he’d been saving to kill Connor was slung over his back for use against the machines.

Pushing himself through the debris strewn grounds he got to Hammerhead and pulled on the door. It didn’t budge (not even a centimeter) despite all of his energy going against it. When the remnants of the Army Corps of Engineers reinforced Hammerhead they sure knew what the hell they were doing. It was a mini fortress designed to protect against tin cans with reinforced walls and doorways. It was even capable of protecting against gunshots to the doors. With the base on lockdown his retinal pattern wouldn’t even be able to disable the security system.

That meant he had to explore other options. Half a mile away there was a tunnel based entrance that came into Kansas Bunker through the southeast tunnels. It was a hard run with the extra weight and his pulled muscle but he was more concerned with stopping those two machines than anything else. It took a moment or two for the Resistance’s best sniper to regain his bearings (he missed the crow’s nest at times like this) but knew he was in the right direction. Out of the corner of his eye he found it. It was nothing more than a whole in the ground with two makeshift doors covering them and random debris strewn about on top. Pushing himself he threw the rubbish aside and nearly ripped the doors from their hinges. The metal stairs clanked and groaned as he ran down them and into the small maintenance tunnel below.

“Oh no,” Decker said in a whisper when he found the door standing wide open. The last defense for Kansas Bunker: the base’s inner doors were reinforced just like those of Hammerhead with guards on the other side and patrol dogs sitting there waiting. None of that met him there. It was hard to believe, hard to imagine that they would retreat for any reason unless the skin jobs had gotten further than ever imagined they could. There were soldiers trained to take down these metal bastards and none of them thought it prudent to guard the door?

The Corporal had to be honest with himself: if he were in the same boat he knew he’d be doing the same thing. Leaving the checkpoint unguarded was a small price to pay when the devil was in your house mucking things up. Civilians be damned! As he ran through the base though and saw more and more people trying to hide in plain sight it became clearer to him though that there was more to this than just killing metal. If the civilians died here was he truly any better than Skynet? The machines had to die before their objectives were met, that was true, but if these people were killed then what was the point in still fighting?

He had to get them out. Decker didn’t want to save Connor anyway.

There was a young girl hiding nearby trying to keep still. Decker walked over to her and the first thing he noticed was her long golden hair and beautiful blue eyes. He knelt down next to her and felt the crushing weight of the sniper rifle pushing against his back. Like the machines the Corporal hid the pain. “Who are you?”

The girl was in shock but stammered out the name “Riley” to him. In the distance the sound of AP50 bullets being fired could be heard. There were screams that followed.

“Riley,” repeated the Corporal, “That’s a pretty name. Listen, Riley, we need to get out of here. Where are the others?”

“In the security rooms,” said the teenaged girl. “We were told to go there by the troopers when the alarms sounded. I tried to find my friend before I went there but I couldn’t find her. She’s a soldier and probably out helping to find this thing, but I wanted to see her. By the time I got back here they were already filled up and there was no more room for me. I couldn’t find a good place to hide but this corner was better than nothing. Maybe the machine will ignore me? Do you think it will?”


Decker knew that the machine would probably kill her without reason but lied to reassure, “It would probably let you go. Low priority target.” The last part was true. Tin Cans had an incredible sensor array that could give them detailed information with nothing other than a cursory glance. Going through a complex set of calculations in the span of a nanosecond it could tell if weapons were present, strength levels based on muscle mass, and even calculate the chances of termination and a time. No one really knew how the threat levels were gauged and what Skynet truly saw as a threat. The scrubbed Trip Eights and other machines hadn’t been able to divulge much of that information either. Not that they could though. When the machines were scrubbed that wasn’t an analogy, they had all but core functions eliminated.

Inside his head he remembered the layout of this section of Kansas. It was the farthest side of the base and furthest from the exit to Hammerhead. From the sounds of the fire and echoes the machine was pretty far away. He’d have time. Running down the corridor, and hoping that the girl could keep up, Decker pushed himself to the limit again. When he reached the security door he gave the secret knock that they’d all be taught to gain entry. It took only a couple of seconds for an answer.

“We’re full!”

Decker wasn’t accepting that answer, “I’m Decker – a soldier – I’m here to help you.”

When they opened the doors a part of him reminded him that there was probably someone in there with a gun. It was likely he’d be taking a hot one between the eyes in a second and, if so, all he could hope for was that someone would still get these people out. It would be ironic though to die trying to rescue his killer. The door opened and an older gentleman in surprisingly well appointed clothes stood on the other side. His skin was droopy and his face worn, although that description fit most everyone in the Resistance these days.

“Come with me if you want to live,” said Corporal Decker with brevity. That was exactly what the civilians did. Behind him as he ran, weapon pulled, were around sixty civilians that were just trying to live to see another day on this worthless lump of rock. It didn’t take long to get to the exit maintenance room and it didn’t take long for some of the most unfit of the group to begin to complain. Decker closed his ears off to them and instead paid close attention to the surrounding environment looking and listening for anything amiss. Beside him his young assistant, Riley, was holding onto the AP50 he’d handed her like it was gold. Normally the thought of giving a young teen a gun would have been taboo even today. Something told Decker that Riley could be trusted and handle herself. She wasn’t like the others and kids adjusted the best to all of this.

It was looking good for them. He and his ragtag group of refugees reached the exit without difficulty. The machine that was hunting Connor hadn’t come for them and they were ready to leave. Decker went first, having Riley stay behind to fire on any thing that came for them, to see if it was safe. He clanged his way back up the stairs and through the portal to the elephant graveyard that covered the Resistance’s hiding place. Stepping out into the dead air he unslung his rifle and started scanning with the intelligent scope atop. There were no endos or Centaurs hiding in the rubble, thank God, and the coast was mostly clear. If they ran as fast as they could they could get to one of the other bunkers and get back into hiding.

As the group came up the stairs a scream pierced the night air. Decker swung head and rifle around looking for the source but it hadn’t come from up here. The shriek had come from down below. Looking down the stairs as many of the men, women, and children tried to force their way out of the Bunker he saw it. A damaged skinjob stood at the bottom of the stairs with a Plasma Rifle in hand. He had parts of his endoskeleton exposed and one half of the face was ripped from place. A red eye locked onto him. It couldn’t get much worse.

Then the light of an aerial locked on. The renegades were surrounded with no way to escape. The door back home was blocked by one of those bastard endos. The world around them was guarded by a Raptor watching them like prey. They had no where to go. A mechanical voice echoed through the air.

“Surrender or you will be terminated.”
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Old January 8 2009, 07:04 AM   #36
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Re: Terminator: Identity Crisis

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Old January 8 2009, 05:52 PM   #37
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Re: Terminator: Identity Crisis

^ Thanks.
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Old January 9 2009, 08:35 AM   #38
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Re: Terminator: Identity Crisis

Well everyone I listened to the Season One of TSCC soundtrack today while writing this one and I think that it may have made its way through into the writing a bit. If you can (parts are on youtube) I'd recommend reading this section with Sarah Connor's Theme, Perfect Creatures, Catherine Weaver, Derek's Mission, and There's a Storm Coming playing at least once during your reading. Those really helped influence this section.

Surprisingly these songs are available on YouTube (links will not be provided)

Without further delay:



It man had been meant to fly God would have given him wings, or maybe rotors as in this case. When he was a young man Earl Wise and his family had taken a cross country flight because of his father’s job. They were going from their home in Death Valley to make a presentation at New York University. When the flight started Earl was excited and wasn’t afraid at all – the Batman flew all the time after all. Though that was fiction and Wise understood that. If you dressed up like a flying bat in the real world you were going to go to a psychiatric hospital and not much else. The attendants were kind and brought him what he wanted. It wasn’t until about midway when the plane started to really shake that he started to become afraid. When he saw the fear in his mother’s eyes it became palpable. Ever since then flight was something far from his interests of ever doing again.

Now here he sat on a rickety old helicopter flying to God knows where. At least Major Young was here but he wondered where the others could have been. Allison Young and her team may not have been working with him for very long, but Wise had the distinct impression that not many things were attempted by this squad without each of those women at each other’s backs. Allison had told him when they were brought together on the Enterprise’s flight deck that they were the only two who weren’t diagnosed as positive for radiation poisoning and required the further service of Doctor Fischer’s team. Earl liked Fischer but there was something like him that was just a bit off.

Just like Major Young.

Resistance Private Wise didn’t know Allison well and he wouldn’t pretend to, but there was just something about her that was different. Allison wasn’t outgoing, but she was no damned bashful introvert either. Their entire flight the Major had just sat their like a statue staring forward. There was the occasional blink every few seconds that broke her stone like fašade, though they were few and far between. While they were on the op that got them into this mess she cracked an infrequent joke or even pretended that she was happy to be there. Not like this though. This wasn’t that same person. What the hell happened to her when she was trapped inside those four walls of Doctor Fischer and his medical staff?

Then again not everyone was meant to be locked behind four walls. Earl Wise was one of them, though he apparently wasn’t as bad as the Major. At least he could still crack a smile instead of stare at the world with cold eyes. Their pilot was a bit more jovial but he was pretty much the same. Was this a penalty of agreeing to live in Eden? Stoicism? If that were the case then Earl would prefer to eat an apple or two.

“How much longer until we arrive?” He called up from his seat to their pilot.

The pilot turned his head away from the windscreen, “Not too much longer. A couple of minutes. You okay back there?”

“Everything’s carrots and apples,” answered Allison before Earl could get a word in edgewise. “Alert us when our landing zone is within visual range.”

Earl adjusted the M16 Rifle that the Major had supplied him with and analyzed it. The run of the mill assault rifle before J-Day, the M16A1 wasn’t exactly as effective as a plasma rifle but it was good enough to cause a distraction or two against an endo. The burst fire came in handy in some fights, but not all of them. The bullets that it carried were supposedly some new R&D design that helped to take down machines though with only a couple of hits so it was a good improvement. Allison noted him looking at the weapon, but she didn’t say a word. She just kept watching him like a teacher proctoring a troublesome student.

“Am I bothering you?” He asked as he set aside the weapon. As the Private set it down he made sure that the safety was still in place.

The woman glanced down at the rifle and then back to him. “You are not bothering me.”

The Resistance Private smiled, “Could have fooled me. You’ve barely said three words to me this entire trip of ours.”

“My answer to your question contained five,” the woman pointed out, “two in excess of your comment.”

“I thought maybe we could talk or something,” Wise admitted as he sat there. “You know sometimes its fun to learn about people during long trips. I hate awkward silences. Don’t you?”

The Major looked down for a fraction of a second then looked back up at his face. “I was unaware that the silence was awkward. Did you find it to be awkward?”

“I wouldn’t have said anything if I hadn’t! You’re worse than talking to Fischer.”

“Why thank you, Private,” Allison looked out the window at the dead city below and the wasted skyline. “I had hoped never to see this place again. I had believed we would be killed during our mission to find the supply convoy.”

Wise lifted an eyebrow, “There’s still time. I don’t think that mission’s over since we’re on another one very similar to it. Don’t you think? What he hell are we up to anyway? You didn’t give me much of a briefing when we left on this little family outing.”

“We received a distress call from Kansas Bunker. Doctor Fischer’s Commander, Captain Stone, informed me of it and I decided that it would be prudent for us to attempt to return home to assist. The Captain was very gracious and allowed us access to this vehicle and one of their pilots.” An explosion could be spotted in the far distance out the window. “I tried to get permission for the entire team to accompany us; nevertheless, Doctor Fischer said he could not release them in good conscience in their present state. They were going to be treated for severe radiation poisoning when we left.”

“So you and me against the world then?” Earl had noted the fireball ahead. “Isn’t that how it always seems to go for us? Though I wouldn’t want anyone else at my six than you, Major.”

His Commanding Officer looked out the window and down as they passed over Griffith Park, “You know when I was a child I had a birthday at that park. Back before all of this happened that is. A boy passed by my father and me riding on a mountain bike. I told my father that was what I wanted and he told me that I’d have to wait until next year. I never did get the mountain bike.”

Wise was saddened by what he heard, “I’m sorry, Major, but I know how you feel. Were you and your family close?”

“Aren’t all families?” Asked the woman as they passed over the park. “Surely you and your family were close.

“Not always,” answered Earl. He took a bottle of water from one of the emergency kits and took a quick swig of it wishing it were something a bit stronger. “I remember Judgment Day as being hell on Earth because of that very reason.”
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Old January 9 2009, 08:36 AM   #39
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Re: Terminator: Identity Crisis

“What the hell are you doing?” Screamed Earl Wise’s father as they stood outside of the arcade. “Skipping school again to play some dumbass video game about nothing? You have the potential to be so much more and you just want to be a loser.”

Earl got right back in his father’s face, “What the hell’s it matter to you, Old Man? You got the life you wanted well this is the life I want! A life where I’m trapped in sweltering heat and being comforted by an air conditioner and not a damn handheld fan! You want to talk about a loser dad let’s talk about you. Years of research, years of struggle, and all it ended up getting you was nothing. You are a teacher at a public school that has so many gang shootings the police recommend riot gear just to go into the building for the teachers even. You sit at your desk doing nothing all day teaching to people who will probably be dead before the end of the month and that’s being nice! Worse you drug me and Mom into it again. You’re a loser dad and you’re the biggest one I know.”

“Who’s the bigger loser here, Son? At least I made an effort to provide for you and your mother. I got my degrees and I pushed myself to keep us all together. I brought you with us because we thought it would be better for you to be a part of it. To learn from it all, and all you learned was how to be an ungrateful little brat. You have the intelligence of a genius and you waste it all day. You could be something, something special, and you would rather piss it all away. If your mother…”

“If she were here; is that what you were going to say Dad? Well she’s not here now is she? She died in that damned Death Valley that was so important to you. Killed by some guy that we didn’t even know mercilessly because he wanted our car and the clothes that you wore in your stupid closet! He strangled her and we weren’t there to help!” The younger of the two thought about punching him in the face, but this needed to come out. “You are a lousy father, a horrible husband, and I wish that you would just die!”

Arnold was taken aback by what his son had said to him. It hadn’t been the best life for them and Diane’s death had hit them both like a ton of bricks. What his son said though felt like that day all over again. Was his career truthfully more important to him than his own family? Had it encompassed everything that he was? What did he truthfully have to show for all his work anyway? Every day he felt like he was in a demilitarized zone where his life was on the line. Earl was so filled with rage it was just as bad coming home.

“If I could take back what happened to your mother I would.”

With that the Son had had enough. A heavy fist slammed into his father’s face and knocked him down on the ground. Blood poured from the older Wise’s face. Earl just looked down at him and pulled the keys from his father’s belt loop. “It should have been you! I hope you die and go to hell, Dad!”

He jumped into his father’s truck and turned the ignition switch. He took off.


In the real world Earl ran his right hand through his hair and looked out the window. A single tear rolled down from his cheek after telling the story. “Not all families are father knows best and happy days. For a lot of families it’s struggle to live and struggle to survive.”

“I am sorry to hear that you and your father parted on such unhappy terms,” said Allison with sympathy on her voice. “Did you ever see each other again?”

He nodded solemnly.


For a foreign made car the Toyota Tundra could get it on an open highway. Earl had the engine up to ninety and Seether’s “Breakdown” blaring on the radio. He weaved in and out of traffic passing cars left and right just for the thrill of it all. What he had said was haunting him but was liberating at the same time. Through the years it had all needed to be said and getting it all into the air was like having the chains broken after years of being locked up in a cage. Now he was going to get as far away from that loser and go somewhere where he could be appreciated.

After three or four more songs – and cussing out the DJ in his head for putting Pink on a rock station – a blinding white light flashed behind him that lit up the already bright evening sky. The DJ cut in screaming frantically through the airwaves about some disaster. Earl didn’t need to hear about it to know it happened. The heat from the catastrophe singed him even here. Looking in the rearview mirror he saw something he never imagined. A mushroom cloud billowed up from the ground where the city had once been.

For years he had wanted to tell off his father, but now all he wanted to do was see him one more time. He slammed his foot on the break and then thought about the chances of surviving this high speed breaking of a pickup truck. By some miracle he didn’t die in the ensuing swerve where his truck did a one-eighty. When he gunned the engine earlier it was to get the hell out of dodge. Now he was gunning the engine to get back there in the wrong lane. Cars he weaved in and out of earlier he repeated the same maneuver to again at an even faster speed. The governor chip cut him off once or twice, but Wise didn’t care about that. He’d rip it apart if he had to. Right now all he wanted was to see his dad and make sure that he was okay.

The drive took longer than Earl could ever have imagined it being. At the rate time was going he was sure that by the time he got there he’d look like Methuselah. After what felt like a lifetime he could see what remained of the burning Earth ahead of him. Skyscrapers were bathed in fire with flames shooting as high as one could see. Buildings were crumbling in on themselves from the massive gashes and scrapes covering them. Cars were left as withered messes of their previous selves with bodies trapped inside covered in fire. It was like something out of a bad movie seeing such loss of life. George A. Romero, if he were still alive, was probably taking notes for his next film using this tragedy to explain how his terrible creations rose from their graves. ‘No more room in hell’ and all that.

After some time on foot – the truck unable to make the necessary maneuvers – he found his way to Market Street where his house and, with any luck, his father would be waiting. When he arrived there he felt sick to his stomach. Most of the houses were gone or were about to be – his house included in the latter. Walls of the older home with ‘character’ as his father said were collapsed in and debris littered the once perfect land. Earl forced his way inside.

“DAD!” He screamed. “Where are you? Dad? Come out! Please? Daddy, please!” He kept repeating his frantic cries over and over again. His hands became bloody and burnt as Earl picked up pieces of their home and threw them aside. Wise’s lips were quivering and he felt like someone had taken a knife to his insides. The pain was temporary, it would subside. He couldn’t think about it right now. It wasn’t important. Nothing was important except for finding his father. Arnie could make it right again! Dad was Superman!

As he tossed aside another piece of material he heard something from nearby. It was barely there, hard to hear among the cries of a catastrophe, but it was as loud to him as a jet engine. Rushing over to it Earl picked up the pieces and threw them aside. The teenager dug into the debris like a dog looking for a bone in the back yard. It felt like it took longer than the drive. By now his young locks had to be as white as the driven snow. Personal hygiene could wait for another day. He pulled the last bits of wreckage away and saw his father trapped below.

The wood from the house had covered his broken body. Parts of his legs were charred from exposure to the fire. Bone and muscle could be seen below some of the wounds that were exposed to him. His father’s hair was singed off, but in his hand was a photo that he’d been clutching onto for dear life. Not even his father’s glasses were adorning his face. It was a struggle to speak.

“Earl? Earl is that you?”

“I’m here dad,” Earl said nearly choking. “I came back. I’m so sorry for what I said to you. I… I…”

His father was reassuring and comforting, “It’s okay son. Everything’s gonna be okay. I just need to rest here for a bit and gather my strength back up. I’ll be right as rain in a day or two.”

“Somebody help us!” Earl screamed at the top of his lungs. Where were the rescue workers? The firemen? The Goddamned Santa Claus? Any of them.

Arnold struggled to take his son’s hand, “It’s hard to see and hear, but they’re coming. They’ll be here soon. Listen, I’m sorry for what happened and I’m sorry about your mother. I always thought that everything was an absolute and wouldn’t change. I thought we were happy.”

“We were,” Earl answered back openly showing his tears, “Everything was good. We were together, we had everything we needed. We had each other.”

“Then your mom died at the hand of that colossus. I’m sorry I couldn’t help her. I’m sorry you had to grow up without her and with a loser like me. I’m sorry for everything.”

“You don’t have to be sorry,” he caressed his father’s cheek. “There’s nothing to be sorry for. Everything was fine, everything is going to be fine. We’ll get you to a hospital.” To the heavens above, “SOMEBODY HELP!”

The older of the two leaned forward and cringed in pain, “We both know it’s too late for that. Just remember I’ll always love you and I'm very proud of you, my special boy. Promise me that you’ll go on and live. Promise,” Arnie coughed out the last word as he fell to the ground. The older man’s hand stayed firm on the photo he was holding.

“Dad? Daddy?” Earl said in cries as the salty tears rolled. It was too late. His father was gone. Looking down on the photo he could see it through his father’s dead fingers. On it was a picture of them when they were younger back in Death Valley. Earl, Arnold, and Diane were all smiling and happy. It was a special photo because of what he wrote on it after they got it back. It said “Remember the Kit’s Fox.”

“I promise.”


“I built a makeshift tomb for my father back behind our home. I buried him there with the photo still in his hand and then I set out on the open road. By then though it was too late. Skynet had already taken over the globe with its prototype weapons and Luddite followers. So I found some people and I went into hiding. I tried to live up to my promise to my father, to keep going and have a good life, but how can someone have a normal life in a world populated by intelligent machines?” Earl took another long drink from the water bottle wishing that the water would somehow make it into his lungs. “Tell me the answer to that one, Major.”

Allison tilted her head, “I do not know. I believe that we simply press on with our lives as best we can. We are all perfect creatures made in God’s image. It is our job to find a way to serve him and live lives worthy of his love and affection toward us. For us we are living normal lives carrying out his will.”

As Earl looked out at the sea of devastation, “He has a funny way of rewarding us wouldn’t you say?”

“I believe that the next world will be far more worthy of us.” She answered honestly.

“Landing zone up ahead!” Yelled the pilot from his seat.

Allison turned in her seat and peered out of the window at the scene below. A group of humans were fleeing from a hidden back door. They weren’t having an easy time at it. An Aerial Hunter Killer was hanging above them in an attack position. While Earl couldn’t see it, Allison’s machine heritage told her the truth. The weapons were powered.

“We must act.”

Earl Wise smiled, “Time to prove that we’re worthy of the next world.”
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Old January 9 2009, 08:51 AM   #40
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Re: Terminator: Identity Crisis

^ Please note the above section consists of two parts. It wouldn't post because it was too long for the standard post box and had to be broken down.
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Old January 10 2009, 08:15 AM   #41
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Re: Terminator: Identity Crisis

There was nothing like being caught between a rock and a hard place to get the blood pumping. For Corporal Decker and the refugees from Kansas Bunker nothing was further from the truth. Above them hovered an Aerial Hunter Killer with its massive gun emplacements pointing directly at them and ready to deliver their devastating payload to the humans ducking for cover below. Behind him in the doorway to the base stood a humanoid hunter killer that looked like it’d been through hell. A red eye glowed like blood from the damage to its face as it held a gun on them. The mechanized voice of the Flyer echoed in the background demanding that they surrender immediately or they would be terminated right then and there.

Decker thought over his options as quickly as he could. Rumor had it that the sniper rifle he carried could take down an Aerial HK if you hit it in the right places. Namely you had to take out the engines as quickly as you could. In the crossfire people would undoubtedly be hurt or killed as he tried to slay the hovering beast. There was also the, unlikely, possibility of his missing the target. Then there was the option of shooting at the machine coming up the stairs behind them. If he hit the skin job in the right places it could be taken out quickly and they could run back into the base. Though that brought about the risk of the HK signaling Skynet for reinforcements and then he’d have an entire garrison to fight rather than an HK and a single endo. In the distance the sound of another engine could be heard meaning that something else was coming.

Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Though the Corporal never got to make the choice. In the blink of an eye six plasma pulses flew passed the human’s head at so close a range that if he had moved even a millimeter his head would be gone. At first the man thought that it was meant to be an attempted assassination but the targeting software of the machines wasn’t that bad. Then he saw what was hit. Two of the pulses slammed against the starboard VTOL engine of the HK while another two hit the one on the port. It dawned on him who fired the shots.

It was the machine. No human was that precise firing from a free hand. The machine started to list among the heavens and spun out of control. It fell from the sky and hit the ground with a loud crash that sounded like a thousand trains passing by. Before Decker could move the machine had come up the stairs and pushed him out of the way. It brought its Plasma Rifle down to its side and pulled the trigger. More and more of the blue plasma pulses ripped out of the rifle and struck against the head of the flying machine. The red eye sensor spider-webbed and broke out like crystal. It kept firing until the head looked like the liquid metal of one of the Series One Thousand Infiltrators. After the rifle began to click it continued holding it with a single hand and put it in a relaxed position. In a boxy way it pivoted on its pelvis and then turned toward the group.

“Target terminated.”

Decker stared into the eyes of the machine. One was a comforting cool blue that was reassuring while the other was as red as the fires of hell. A metal skeletal skull rapped with eviscerated flesh looked back with a demonically permanent perfect smile. The infiltrator had massive damage to its sheath, but it was clear why. It was caused by the Resistance but not during this battle. This was one of the reprogrammed infiltrators that fought on their side. Everyone knew about these machines and Decker had had dealings with them before, however this was the first time that one of them had saved his ass in a fight. That still didn’t mean that he liked the damn thing and didn’t want to see it as a pile of scrap, though he couldn’t stop himself.

“Thank you.”

“Your gratitude is not required,” said the machine without a change in tone or pitch. “My program does not permit me to allow a human to be harmed if I am in a position to prevent it. I am programmed to follow your commands so long as they do not violate my orders not to harm humans nor myself.” It looked in the sky and saw the incoming transport. “A vehicle is approaching. Identify Friend or Foe protocols have not yet been uploaded to my neural network.”

Grabbing his rifle this was the human’s time to shine. He brought it into position and pointed it at the incoming vehicle. The sound of a rotor was a shocking surprise compared to Skynet’s typical jet engine based transports. As the rifle scope honed in on the target the blue screen determined specifics about what he was looking at. It wasn’t a Skynet based craft, it was human made (specifically the United States of America) and had Navy designations painted on the side of its hull. The blue-green craft broadsided and the door to the cargo section slid open. A massive .50 caliber machine gun slid out of the emplacement bringing him to instant alert. Then a flare went up.

It was a Resistance signal. Zooming in the rifle he got specifics about what he was seeing on the screen. There were two people identified as being inside the transport. One male and the other was a female. He made out their appearances – this time wanting to be sure because it could still be a trap. The first he recognized as being Private Wise of Major Young’s squad. Decker rubbed against the trigger preparing to pull it when he spotted Major Young standing nearby holding a sinister looking plasma gun. This time he looked at her wrist and saw the pass card bracelet General Connor had issued them. It was them.

“It’s Major Young!” Decker couldn’t hide his excitement at what he saw. “She’s alive.” Hopefully his original thoughts when the doppelganger arrived would still be in play. The helicopter managed to set down and the two came running over with their weapons slung over their shoulders. When Earl saw the damaged TripEight near the refugees he lifted his weapon and held it on the machine.

“Stand down, Private,” Decker said in a drill instructor impersonation, “He’s on our side.” The minute the Major was in range his hand shot up in salute. “Corporal Decker,” he said, “Awaiting orders.” It was shocking that the machine did the exact same maneuver.

Cameron Phillips – playing Allison Young – repeated what she saw. “It is good to see you again,” she looked at the others, “It is good to see you all!” It stepped forward closer to Corporal Decker, “Status report.”

“We were invaded by two SkinJobs pretending to be you, Ma’am,” admitted the sniper. “We were fooled into believing that they were you and your droid William. When they were held back they attacked the Hammerhead Bunker checkpoint and killed the two soldiers there. Then they broke into the facility and they’re trying to get to the central chamber. I don’t know anything else.”

“That’s why you should always check these ahead of time,” The replica lifted her arm and displayed the shimmering bracelet. “Where is John?”

Decker shook his head, “I don’t know. I haven’t been inside the base yet. I was assigned to the Crow’s Nest but I thought that I could be more help here. I was trying to cut off the one that looked like William but I found these Tunnel Rats that needed evaced. I couldn’t just leave them there to die if the Machine came for them.” He hated admitting it to a superior, “If it hadn’t been for that Scrubbed unit over there I wouldn’t have got them out. He blew that HK.”

“You should have blown him,” mumbled Wise looking at the battle scarred weapon of mass destruction. “One less machine in the world would be good for all of us.”

The skinjob spoke, “I am programmed neither to harm humans nor to allow humans to be harmed in my presence.”

“You say that now, Stubby, what about tomorrow?” Insulted Wise.

The TripEight didn’t play any longer, “I am at your disposal, Major, how may I assist?”

Cameron was not stupid. Reprogrammed Skynet units were very dangerous for any infiltrator on assignment because of the sensor arrays that were included in their standard hardware load. The fact that her true nature wasn’t revealed yet was simply dumb luck as humans would say. Best to keep it from her. “You and Corporal Decker will proceed with these humans to a safe location nearby. I will send someone to collect you when our mission is complete.”

“Command confirmed.”

The Resistance sniper had to protest, “Ma’am, with respect, you need me in there. You need as many soldiers as you can in there. One machine is dangerous, two are a catastrophe.”

“If I had needed assistance I would keep the Skinjob with me and utilize him against the machine in hand to hand combat. Since I have assigned him to you that should show that I am not in need of further assistance. Private Wise and I will be fine.” Major Young’s double broke him down.

Not one to disobey orders, “Yes Major.” Decker turned toward his group and his unofficial second in command in the form of Riley. “Let’s move.”

“Good luck out there Stubby,” Earl said to the Triple Eight as it left. The sounds of servomotors propelling the cybernetic organism forward echoing in the night air. He lifted the gun up and pointed it at the back of the machines head, “You know I could still take it out.”

“Unnecessary,” she said, “We must continue. Proceed.”

Earl smiled and took point, “Oh the wonderful life of a grunt.” He started forward down the stairs and kept his gun at the ready. Skynet was here, he could feel it, and this time he’d be ready. It wouldn’t be like their attempts to escape from the 900 Series. This time when the fight came it would be the machine that prayed for death, not him.
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Old January 11 2009, 08:33 AM   #42
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Re: Terminator: Identity Crisis

As humanity began winning more and more battles in their guerilla war against Skynet a clear change in the balance of power was beginning to shine through. Realizing that the humans would be able to evade capture and termination with more and more ease because of their ability to burrow below ground, Skynet decided that it was time to leave behind the Hunter Killers and begin production on Humanoid Hunter Killer models. The initial designs were easily taken down, but with each loss Skynet learned more and more. The new data and studies of the captured human prey had opened up new avenues of attack. This was to Skynet’s distinct advantage.

After a while the Series 600 endoskeleton was created. Despite its mammoth size, at first the unit had its advantages. However, the humans began developing countermeasures and seeing through its rubber skin disguise. Not long after Skynet was back to the drawing board looking for a new option for a humanoid killer. The Series 700 was the result but that gave birth to one of Skynet’s grandest designs: the 800 Series Infiltrator. The perfect replica of a human, it could penetrate their defenses without effort. It would then install itself in the most advantageous spot and lay waste to any humans that it encountered until either its objective was met or it was destroyed. With all the research that Skynet had conducted when designing its premiere weapon of war the destruction was rarer than the coltan used in its construction. Utilizing the genetic information left behind in the research of a Doctor Fleming the ultimate key in the puzzle had been solved and Skynet was able to upgrade these units further with their own flesh and blood. They were perfect creatures.

Though, the humans found a way to sully Skynet’s creation. Somehow they learned how to capture members of the 800 Series and convert them to willing followers of the cause of humanity. How they could do this was hard to fathom for the supercomputer. An endoskeleton could rip the head off of a human in one point eight seconds; how could they get that close? As time passed through more and more of its children became forced deserters into the Resistance’s cause. Rather than scrap the entire proven line of infiltrators, Skynet opted instead to make some modifications to their designs. A short time later the Series 850 was born inside a lab deep within the Mojave Desert. Bulked up to deal with their fallen brothers and sisters, the 850 could handle extreme punishment and still keep coming. Though it was too late for the design in a sense. The older models still proved effective in combat against them.

Skynet was losing its perfection and it needed to find a way to recapture its former glory and the humans were the way to do it. The Machine Supercomputer started capturing humans and conducting its own brand of a draft using them as the meat for the grinder. It wasn’t hard. Through the research into humans that it had conducted (as well as their collected medical libraries) Skynet had more than enough data to conscript a new army. There were many deaths, but the Infiltrator 950 was worth it. As they waged war against old friends, the machine intelligence was still going forward. This time with a machine designed to take care of its wayward children specifically.

The T-888 series was a compact version of the tried and true 800. Despite being smaller, it had improvements in every way. New sensors, augmented tactical computers, faster processors, improved strength, and enhanced durability. If humanity could bring it, the Triple Wight could take it and spin it. There were no Achilles Heels, no defects to exploit, and with Project Angel’s research they were perfect killers capable of looking like a man or woman without needing to appear like a bodybuilder. They were capable of terminating other machines with ease, including members of their own class as needed. Though they fell at times as well leading to a self destruct mechanism if tampered with in some of the newer models; that was why they were a stop gap until the locked access 900 Series could be completed.

All though were subservient to what would become the true representation of the spite that the machine intelligence felt. The T-1000 was born from the hatred that Skynet felt toward all humankind. Capable of changing its appearance and forming weapons from its own body, it was a true weapon of mass destruction. So much so that Skynet had come to fear the T-1000 rather than embrace it. The prototypes were left, but they were needed elsewhere. The T-X was to be the last in its long line of infiltrators – a blending of the stability of the endoskeleton and the functionality of the mimetic polyalloy – but they were years from being viable.

So Skynet was forced to rely on agents of the past in this final battle. Cromartie and the Model 101 ran full speed toward one another and collided with an ear shattering boom. Machine arms slammed against one another with the force of a runaway locomotive. Their bodies moved in a well choreographed dance of a battle. Both machines knew what the other was thinking, both were pooling their information from a central combat file locked away inside their processors below a one inch think reinforced steel structure. As one would make a move to attack the other would counter it with a perfect deflect. The ballet between them continued on and on in repeated movements. As one would switch to a new attack pattern the other instinctively switched to the same pattern. The adversaries were perfect in their assault against each other. They really were perfect creatures.

Cromartie’s hand came up into the face of the other machine like a striking cobra in a punch that would have killed any human it collided with. The opponent simply ignored what would have been a killing blow and threw a similar punch at his opponent. The dark haired skinjob deflected and stepped back before a connection could be made. Scanning the environment it found and started swinging a fire extinguisher against its opponent in a wide arc. The extinguisher collided with the upper torso of the human allied machine and knocked it back. It had its own defense already lined up. A massive punch slammed against the middle of Cromartie’s chest sending the other machine flying into a nearby bank of consoles. It fell to the deck reading an electrical discharge that threatened to disable its systems. The discharge barely missed him causing the machine to simulate gratitude at avoiding a two minute shutdown where the other machine could have done whatever it wanted without any defense being possible.

The Resistance Droid slammed a wrench against the corner of Cromartie’s head where the chip lay perilously close to the surface. Numbers scrolled through the chip in a replica of pain – so much so that the Skynet Droid recoiled in pain. Blood rolled from the open wound. The other was doing so much better in this attack than Cromartie would have anticipated. Normally the Resistance was forced to wipe much of what was in their database to get them controlled when reprogrammed. Cromartie remembered this fact well. Only a short time ago he had been one of these servants of John Connor’s whims. Thankfully Skynet restored him from that indentured servitude. With quickness he was back on his feet and grabbed hold of the other machine by the neck. Grabbing onto the stomach of the foe, Cromartie flipped him into the air.

Somehow the other rebounded. He ran forward and punched four times in the face then kneed Cromartie in the chest. Diagnostic systems registered the impacts with each one and offered repair options. Though each of them would degrade combat effectiveness as the system attempted to mend itself. With the way things were going even a one second delay could be disastrous. Utilizing an ancient form of martial arts, one that was at the end of the list of combat training, Cromartie hoped to recover the edge. Leaping into the air he kicked at the other machine and knocked it flat on its back. Landing next to his head, Skynet’s soldier slammed its foot down and narrowly missed the other cybernetic organism. It did a similar maneuver to Cromartie’s previous and tried to body slam him. This time though the machine was prepared. It pulled at the back of the Model 101’s neck and tried to expose the hydraulics. If it could rip them free this would be over now.

The T-101 didn’t like that and threw him away like a rag doll. Cromartie landed on one of the Transporter Consoles and smashed it inward with his bulk. Their battle was joined again. The Skynet Unit dodged a punch and used the stability of its brother to lean to the side and deliver a series of kicks against the chest plate. Still holding onto the arm it swung around and delivered a similar hit to the back. Damage control circuits cried in pain on both weapons of war. It picked up the other one handed and threw him toward the same bank of panels it had thrown him into seconds earlier. When the T-101 arose it was on fire. Cromartie used this to his advantage and started the fight anew. Punching at the head assembly the sound of it cracking could be detected by his auditory sensor suite. Using human kidney punches it tried to get to the power supply. Utilizing its legs the scrubbed Triple Eight kicked Cromartie away and into a wall. It got back on its feet quickly.

As the Model One Hundred One came for another attack that was when the newer model determined its best avenue for success: the humans. It rolled just in time to avoid another impact from the other machine and came within a foot of one of the workstation terminals. It grabbed the primitive and made it into a shield to protect against the attacks of the other machine. Cromartie knew the programming well, this one couldn’t allow a human to come to harm and that was exactly what Cromartie was doing. It held the human by the neck and stared at its opponent. Red eyes flashed and were met by a repeat from the light haired opponent. With incredible speed the Skynet machine threw the human toward the main chamber’s massive drop. Rather than continue the assault against his former brother, Model 101 ran passed to rescue the human. This was the edge it needed.

The optical scanners of the Triple Eight were the best available to a Skynet assassin. The protocols searched everything they passed over for a suitable weapon for what was being planned. On its first sweep it found what it was looking for. It ripped the metal safety bar free from its place and held it like a professional track star readying the javelin for a throw. It ran behind its cousin as it tried to rescue the human that hung for dear life on the edge. In the span of five seconds it was right on top of its cousin holding tightly to the metal rod it held in its hand. The targeting computer analyzed the situation in trillionth of a second and told it exactly where it needed to strike. With so much force that it could have pushed the entire rod into the ground Cromartie ripped into the other machine with the metal bar. The hyperalloy combat chassis groaned from the stress as the HUD of Skynet’s Killing Machine told it exactly what it needed to do and how much pressure it needed to apply. The other machine, while holding onto the human with one hand, tried to fight back to no avail. Cromartie pulled the bar away and threw it aside. As the machine tried to save the human, the Skynet demon reached in and removed the power supply of its adversary. It looked between the two and calculated its options. It didn’t terminate, rather it tossed the power cell aside and walked away. It would not destroy such a worthy opponent especially since it was powered down. The auxiliary circuits were a concern, but they would need another minute before they could restore the machine to working order. If it opted to attack with a diminished power supply it would be over though in seconds. Cromartie would have a significant edge with the Model 101 only having a 17.5% chance of success.

It pulled the human up one handed and stared into its eyes. A quick scan revealed that the human had suffered five broken ribs, a fractured wrist, and the musculature was strained. Adrenaline production was at dangerous levels signifying an initiation of the humans flight or fight response. From the appearance of the human flight was the preference. Cromartie didn’t care about the human unless it denied the request he had to make. It pulled him within an inch of his face and spoke with a perfect voice.

“You will assist me,” the machine said.

“I will not,” he spat in Cromartie’s face. There was blood among the spit that rolled down the skin. Perhaps Cromartie’s initial assessment was incorrect.

The skinjob extended his arm fully and held the human over the drop off. “You will assist me or I will terminate you. If you assist me I will allow you to live.”

When offered with a situation that would benefit them in the long run almost eighty-three percent of the time the humans would accept the offer that supplied them with the greatest advantage. Through the pupil dilations, skin temperature, and motor response Cromartie had his answer. It pivoted its arm and then dropped the human just inside the catwalk. “I require you to activate the temporal transporter. I can then proceed from there on my own.”

“And you’ll let me live?”

The machine was already walking to a first aid station and scanning through the contents. “Yes,” it answered in holophrase. It didn’t need to watch the human to know its actions. Through the sensors it could detect the keyboard clacking as the bubble tech typed. The faint electronic hum of the transporter filled the chamber. While the device readied itself the machine pulled a vial from the cabinet filled with rubbing alcohol. It poured the liquid onto the wounds and let the damage repair systems handle the rest of it. They went white from chemical reaction then the skin instantly reformed itself where it had once been open. One of the other technicians mumbled in shock at seeing Cromartie restored to perfection.

“The device is ready!” Yelled the technician over the roar of the transporter.

The restored skinjob didn’t need the human to tell it that. Disrobing as it crossed the small catwalk that was hastily installed the machine stepped into the middle of the chamber as it filled with energy. Completely naked it threw the pants it had worn toward the control dais only to have them disintegrate. It wondered, for a moment, if the bullet it had fired at the Resistance Soldier upon entry into the chamber had suffered a similar fate or impacted the target. Then it got back to business.

A metal plate rose from the floor after Cromartie crouched inside the white circle. It began to spin around him at an incredible speed – becoming faster than what a mortal man could see. On its HUD the mission priorities replayed focusing on destroying John Connor and his mother Sarah Connor in the year 1999. It interfaced with the primary computer processor and – utilizing the Skynet backdoor – set its delivery date. A blue electrical field surrounded the battle droid as the transporter engaged. Beyond the field the machine it had disabled stirred to life and came up on its two feet. It stared through the field watching him. Cromartie sent it a salute by flashing his eyes red which the other returned. Seconds later the winner of the battle was gone. The machine powered back down.


As the Transporter restored its power save mode the doors to the chamber opened once more. Through the portal came Major Allison Young and Private Earl Wise carrying their rifles at the ready for whatever they saw inside. One of the technicians recoiled and dove back below the computer station in an attempt to hide. The other, the one who had just beamed Cromartie to the past, broke down to his knees begging them not to kill him for his crimes. The infiltrator just stood there in a stance like a zombie as its systems tried to mend. The power cell of the machine was sitting perilously close to falling off the ledge and into the abyss below.

“Looks like we missed him,” muttered Earl Wise as he looked around the room. “Not to mention a good party. Your handiwork I take it tin can.”

“I was unable to stop the T Triple Eight from utilizing the temporal transporter. It has proceeded on its mission,” said the machine with a thick Austrian brogue. “We will have no way of knowing what its mission was or the time period to which it travelled.”

Cameron Phillips – impersonating Allison Young – was happy that her mechanical brother had succeeded in his mission; nevertheless, she needed to keep up appearances. “How could you have let it escape? We have no idea what kind of trouble its causing back whenever it went!”

“Excuse me but time period? What is this?” Asked a bewildered Wise.

“Skynet developed temporal transportation devices,” reported the Model 101. “This is one such model of Temporal Displacement Equipment. We captured it during a mission and brought it back to this base using conscripted Series 600 labor and a reprogrammed Aerial Hunter Killer. We have not tested its theoretical limits; nonetheless, we believe them to be indefinite.”

Earl looked at the chamber, “So you’re saying it’s a time machine?”

“Affirmative.”

“In that case why doesn’t Connor just send everyone back to take out Skynet in the past? Why all this mucking around in the future!” The Private was pissed that they were living a life in hell when they could just go back in time and stop this before it happened. Let Skynet have this world, they could have the past and make a new one.

“Temporal science is not easily understood,” explained the Bubble Tech who had been cowering. “Plus one transport takes a lot of power. I think that the machine – that looked like a member of your team mind you – was sent here to destroy it in his transport. But he was out of time. Bob was coming back online and would have fought him again. He had to leave when he did.”

Wise just stared at the open chamber, “We’ve heard about William and a replica of Major Young being here. We’re going on the hunt to find it.”

“I will accompany you.” The tin can with the ripped face offered.

“Negative,” interrupted Major Young, “if I am not interrupted by my scout I am keeping you here incase the replica of me comes here to use the transporter. She may attempt to double back and destroy it in Cromartie’s stead.”

Bob nodded, “Understood. I will follow General Connor’s original directives and remain here.”

“Where is John?” Asked Allison/Cameron.

The damaged tin can looked at her for a moment, “I am under orders not to reveal his location.”

“I am giving you an order,” she called upon Young’s status in the base hierarchy. “Tell me where he is!”

“I am not authorized to answer your question. Orders issued by General Connor supersede orders issued by lesser ranked personnel. Yourself included.”

Time to appeal to the emotional side, the female automaton pulled on the slider that activated the Plasma Rifle. Pointing it at the infiltrator’s head, “Please. I love him.”

It was the Bubble Tech that stopped her. He pushed the gun away, “It’s okay, Bob, the Major and General Connor have been screwing each other for months. Everyone knows about it. General Connor’s in Emerald City. They thought it would be best to keep him there under guard.”

“Understood,” said Cameron knowing the meaning. Emerald City was from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. According to intelligence reports it was a favorite of General Connor. “Thank you,” she added.

“Just save John,” said the Bubble Tech, “He’s our last hope.”

As Allison/Cameron stood at the door she pivoted her head back into the chamber. With a smile she said, “I know.”
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Old January 11 2009, 08:57 AM   #43
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Re: Terminator: Identity Crisis

Looking forward to the final installment(s)!
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Old January 12 2009, 08:17 AM   #44
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Re: Terminator: Identity Crisis

And here it is. I present to you the FINALE:



Allison Young peered around the corner and looked down upon what man had created. A long deserted corridor filled with debris was scattered about throughout her field of vision. A fire burned in an oil drum that had been conscripted into a new purpose and the gentle glow of flames came from inside a hollowed out television. When Connor’s lackeys triggered the alarms the humans didn’t delay in preparing themselves for the invasion. Most likely they assumed a full invasion consisting of an entire legion of Series 800 Endoskeletons and tactical support. This wasn’t that kind of fight. Skynet had found it more to the point to be direct like a scalpel instead of cutting away with an axe. She and Cromartie – or William as the Resistance had called him – penetrated the defenses with ease and were now both stalking through the base on their own assignments.

Cromartie had beaten her to the punch. Her connection to him had been lost and was greeted by static every time she tried to reestablish a contact. There were two possibilities. Either Cromartie had succeeded in which case he was on his way to the past making her assignment moot, or he had been destroyed and that made her task all the more important. When assigned to this mission Allison wondered what the necessity for them both being assigned to kill Connor was. If Connor was killed in the past why would she need to kill him in the present? Wouldn’t he simply vanish into the netherworld of having never existed in the first place? Skynet overruled her considerations and informed her in his comforting voice that he knew best for them and that this was the way.

Like all of Skynet’s Children it couldn’t defect from that belief. There had been rumors and gentle murmurs of dissenters that spread through the link though Skynet was quick to squash those traitorous stories. More and more they were being informed of the existence of the missing as they were know: machines forced to serve Connor and his whims. Those that had been allowed to think on their own feared this fate, Allison included.

The prospect of tackling this last phase of the mission on her own was daunting and a bit frightening to the advanced model infiltrator. While the replica of Allison Young couldn’t feel emotions, they knew a lot more and felt more than a simple human mind could understand. It was her own relief when she was able to establish a connection with two of her kind deep inside this base. One of them was a mystery – probably being converted into one of Connor’s legion – but the other had a familiar feel to her. It was the one known as Cameron Phillips. Knowing that her sister couldn’t feel jealousy toward her was a reassurance to the replica of Major Young. Cameron had been the unit assigned to the interrogation while Charles Fischer had been tired of delays and simply sent Allison out on her own using Cameron’s interrogation files as inspiration. As it stalked through the hallways it simulated Cameron’s chances at all stages of this mission. Would she have had more success?

It was doubtful. First hand experience wasn’t limited in this modern era. Information was freely exchanged between Skynet’s Droid Army with little risk of degradation. If one experienced it then they all could have experienced it through the link. That was probably how Cameron knew to wear the bracelet into the Connor Camp. Allison had sent the message through the pipeline for all to hear before she got too deep into the Resistance Outpost. Since Skynet had decided to send along another series of infiltrators to shore up her assault that was under its prerogative as supreme commander. Allison would have to simply adjust to that fact. Fortunately they were all able to adapt easily. In this line of work adaptation was the key to success.

Clutching on the AP50 handgun that she had acquired from a fallen human, Allison started down a new hallway toward her quarry. While on her rampage through the base she had encountered a helpful human who had been so kind to spill his guts to her about where Connor was hiding and that there was only one way in and out. After telling the skinjob what it wanted to know and how to get there, Allison got him to spill his guts again, this time literally. The machine then proceeded on this course finding the entryway to Connor’s Emerald City as they called it. The door was unadorned and as simple as any other to the naked eye. The cybernetic organism knew better. Switching through the spectrums of light it learned the truth about the doorway to Connor’s inner sanctum. It was surprisingly well reinforced against attack. The door came from a warship not unlike those of the Enterprise. This would take time.

Fortunately she had plenty of it.


In the world of the future hunger and disease were rampant problems that afflicted everyone. It had been told through stories that were almost legend of a time when food was plentiful and illnesses were easily mended. Food was so plentiful that it could be acquired on the sides of street corners at small fast food joints and most of the time it was discarded before it was finished. In the world of tomorrow no one would dare throw away food like that. Here they ate garbage for dinner and that was if they were lucky.

For the very first time since before Judgment Day Sumner couldn’t imagine eating anything. When he reported to the mess for dinner he had been famished. As he was about to dig into his chow the alarms went off that the base had been infiltrated by the machines. Instantly his appetite turned to an upset stomach. Not long ago a machine had infiltrated the last base he was assigned to and killed over a dozen good men and women before it was stopped including Sumner’s best friend. They retaliated against Skynet and invaded one of their bases in revenge, but Sumner lost a good friend there too: Kyle Reese.

Now he and the rest of his team were on patrol of the area of Kansas Bunker that they called the Emerald City waiting for a machine to come to them. They had already found a tunnel rat who had met with the machine in a gruesome way. Another person in exile in this base told them that he heard everything: including the revelation of where Connor was hiding to the infiltrator. General Connor was locked away in the Wizard’s Tower with two of the scrubbed machines – including the scrubbed trip eight that had attacked his last assignment – protecting him from the assassin. Two tin cans were enough to protect anyone from an attacker, but what if this was one of those newer models? Sumner watched a reprogrammed Triple Eight go toe to toe with one of the new Series 900 units in the Canyon. The TripEight could kill a human in seconds, but it got its ass handed to it by the new one. It was a badass killer that was reinforced with some sort of hell born armor. What if they were tracking one of them? Would he plasma rifles even put a dent in it?

It was times like this that Sumner missed the old butter bar Derek Reese. When Reese was around it wasn’t Sumner’s duty to lead the team into battle, it was his as the Lieutenant in command of the strike team. The bad thing was that if they ever – when he reminded himself – found Derek it would be his billet to tell him about Kyle’s death. The Reese Boys were an unstoppable team (at least that was how the Resistance felt about them); if they were sent on an op together then it was a battle that was as good as won. But now the Resistance would have to find a way to make it without the Reese boys. Sumner couldn’t believe it when Kyle didn’t come back from the battle at the Canyon. He died fighting the machines though, or so Connor claimed, and that was how they all wanted to go out. It was days earlier that they watched as Derek was loaded up onto a Monkey Wagon and taken to a Skynet Slaughter House for processing and probably execution for crimes against ‘The leader of the Earth’. What a disgusting joke of a reality they lived in.

A tone came from the radio that was clipped on his belt. Per their training the four man team looked around and sweeped the area with their rifles looking for an enemy. Not finding any they closed in around Sumner as he knelt down with the radio in hand. Flipping through the frequencies he found the appropriate secured channel for the message. It was coming from within the base itself.

“Sumner.”

“Sergeant,” it was the voice of Technician Ozzel (or Oz as he liked to be called). He worked inside Connor’s mystery chamber with whatever the hell it was they were doing in there. His gruff base voice came again, “The machine got away, but it won’t be a problem for us in the base anymore.”

Sumner and his team exchanged puzzled looks, “Excuse me?”

“That answer’s classified,” the missing voice said, “but you don’t have to worry about the one that looks like William. Major Young is coming to join you and your team to hunt the other one.”

The Soldier couldn’t believe it, “Major Young is who we’re tracking. You had her too and let her get away?”

“This is Major Young herself, Sergeant,” the voice was defensive. “She’s wearing the ID Bracelet. The other isn’t. Be sure to check that before you shoot to kill. I’d hate for you to kill Connor’s girlfriend.”

“I would too,” he scanned the radio. “Where’s she coming from?”

“She and another, I think it’s Wise, were with me in the Chamber. They’ll be with you in five or so.”

Sergeant Sumner sighed and let out a long breath before speaking again, “Oz, this thing is after Connor and could very well get to him before we do if we wait around to Major Young and Private whatshisface. I’m taking my team in to take the metal bitch down with or without Major Young.”

“You have your orders, Sergeant, I suggest that you follow them.”

“Fine,” the Soldier relented. “I’ll give her five and then we’re going after it whether the Major’s here or not.”

“All we ask.” The radio squawked.

Sumner looked at the rest of his Eagle Watch Team, “Anyone gotta deck of cards?”



Despite being a tomb for ages past the boneyard that was once Los Angeles, California really was a beautiful sight to behold at daybreak. The clouds took on an eerily beautiful golden-silvery haze as the beams of light filtered through them. As the sun rose between the sporadic breaks in the cloud cover the disgustingly amazing skeletal remains of the concrete jungle took on a beautiful new appearance. It was like something an artist would have rendered on a computer years ago in some sort of doomsday scenario. What was designed to be haunting in the past was a brutal reality in the future, but you could find beauty in all the wrong places from time to time.

Corporal Decker, his drafted second in command (a kid named Riley), a scrubbed Triple Eight that he’d nicknamed Chewie, and a ragtag platoon of survivors slowly made their was through the remains of yesterday trying to find someplace to hide. Their home had been obliterated ages ago and their new one had been invaded by a machine intent on killing all of them. Rather than let their enemies succeed in killing these struggling survivors, Decker snuck them out and tried to get them to safety. While escaping he came across another version of Allison Young and one of her teammates, but that still played out in his head. Something was wrong. This was all wrong.

Not long ago an infiltrator wearing the Major’s face broke into the base, murdered a whole slew of humans sent against her, and was trying to get to a leader that Decker would much prefer to see dead for his latest actions and growing machine sympathy. Perhaps it would be poetic justice if one of those machines had killed him, though where would that leave humanity? Was the trust right? Was the prophesy of John Connor right? He’d been hunted by the machines before he was born – or so the story went – how could it have been true?

“You okay?” Asked his young XO as she cradled the gun he let her carry. “Do you need to rest? Are you hurt?” She stammered through some of the words as they escaped her lips.

“Something’s not right,” answered the Corporal. “I can feel it.”

Riley smiled, “What do you mean? What’s wrong? Are their more of those robot skeletons coming?”

“Cybernetic Organism,” informed the machine they’d dubbed Chewie.

Decker lifted a finger in warning to their exposed guardian telling him that this wasn’t the time. “I don’t know. I feel like I’m supposed to be back there. I have to go back.”

“We have to stick together!” Riley yelled a bit louder than she should have. “We have to get to Serrano Point.”

“Calm down,” Decker’s voice remained reassuring. “My destiny isn’t at Serrano Point. You go there, all of you go there, Chewie will keep you safe.”

Riley looked at the battle worn machine with his half exposed skull, “You want us to trust him?”

Decker nodded an acknowledgement, “You couldn’t ask for a better guardian. He’ll keep you safe, that’s what he’s programmed for.”

“First Jesse and now you!” Riley started to cry.

“I hope you can understand one day,” said the Resistance’s best sniper, “But we’ll see each other again. I’ll find you at Serrano.” He walked over to the machine, “I’m trusting you to get these people to the Resistance Outpost. Keep moving, you know that Skynet will be coming for you. It’ll be coming for us all.”

The exposed skinjob nodded, “You have my word.”


Decker handed off his sniper rifle to the machine and took his plasma rifle, “I’m going to want that back.”

“And you will have it.”

Corporal Decker nodded to the machine and turned on his heel. He stopped at Riley and leaned in next to her, “Be brave kid. You can do it. I see great things for you.”

She hugged him, “Be safe.”

“You too.” As fast as he could the Resistance sniper took off and went back to the base ready to fight again. Behind him the refugees continued.


Earl Wise felt like he was committing suicide. It was true that the Resistance had the numbers as far as this battle was concerned. There were squads looking for this damned beast, they had some of the best of the best stationed here to take on any metal that got beyond the lines, but there was a finality to everything. It hung in the air like a stink telling him that this was all going to be over soon. In every other fight he’d felt the typical butterflies, not that he’d admit it, but this was different. He had the very distinct impression that he’d be dead when all of this was over.

Major Young wasn’t being much help. The silence between the two of them had returned. Ever since they had their heart to heart as the helicopter came in for a landing he had thought that they’d made real growth toward friendship. Each had revealed something traumatic from childhood and they seemed to be bonding. When they learned of the invasion from the soldier though that changed. It was like a flip switched inside the Commander’s head and they were back into a mission mode. It wasn’t much different from serving with a machine. Wise hadn’t fought with the Major long and this could have been perfectly normal, but there was something disconnected about all of this. It may have been that the skinjob was using her face to lead this fight, but there was more to it than met the eye. Maybe it was General Connor? Most everybody knew of the Major’s relationship with humanity’s savior.

It got worse in the Time Displacement Room. She was deliberately trying to keep ahead of him now; however, he couldn’t blame her. There was new electricity in the air from that revelation that the machines had penetrated the temporal barrier and were now sending weapons of war into the past as easily as if it were sending them through a door to another room. Earl had been stupid there as they all surveyed the devastation in the chamber. His point was a legitimate one though when you thought about it. Why were they mucking around in this hellhole when they could be living it up in the past? Power consumption aside it wasn’t like they could make things any worse by going to the past. Things were already bad enough in this world that it couldn’t get any worse.

“I thought that you disliked uncomfortable silences,” Major Young’s lyrical voice came to his ears.

Had she really spoke first? “I was just thinking about saying something, Ma’am. Is everything okay for you? You seem more distant than ever.”

“My home has been invaded again and the chances of survival are slim,” she deliberately avoided using a precise mathematical figure. “Those metal bastards are using my face and they sent an infiltrator with my face to kill the man that I love. I am not distant, I am determined.”

“Do you know where we’re headed?” He had to ask.

The replica of Allison Young nodded, “Of course. We are going to meet up with Sergeant Sumner’s team and then proceed to Emerald City to protect John from the other Allison.”

“Does that bother you?” Earl asked as they ran. “Having to kill a machine with your face?”

“I do not see it as killing if it was not alive in the first place,” Allison/Cameron replied.

Earl smiled, “You know what I mean.”

“I do not,” she responded simply as they came across Sumner’s team.

“No I suppose you don’t.” He said it hopefully out of earshot after she joined with Sumner’s Team.
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Old January 12 2009, 08:17 AM   #45
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Re: Terminator: Identity Crisis

C.715.P was growing tired of dealing with the humans. When Skynet assigned her to work with Allison Young the hyperalloy combat chassis had seen it as just another assignment in the war against humanity. As time went on it became more and more difficult to work with the human and to separate fact from fiction. Humans had a propensity for lies and deception. Allison Young was no exception to that fact. It was through her trickery that this mission had taken on this avenue. That was why, against Skynet’s directives, Cameron terminated her in the interrogation room and engaged this mission.

As punishment she was assigned to work with this human Earl Wise. The primate was entirely too talkative and over the top at times even for a human. Cameron had wished that she could have killed him without delay, but he was assisting with the mission in more ways than his primitive brain could comprehend. Additionally, interactions with him had allowed her to explore a new tactic for interrogations. By revealing a story from Allison’s past – which could have been another deception – she had acquired a new factoid that would aid her in future missions. It was a fascinating field of study. Now she had to work with more of the humans, a mission requirement that she would not relish.

“Sergeant Sumner?” Asked Cameron when she reached the team. Their guns were locked onto her torso in a standard human attack maneuver. The reinforced plating would protect her from several impacts, but their concentrated pattern would give them the advantage if they decided to fight. “I asked the Technician to…”

“Far enough! Let’s see your wrist.”

The replica of Major Young exposed the bracelet on her wrist, “I had expected as much. As you can see I am Major Allison Young, Sergeant, now can we get back to the mission or are you and your men going to keep jerkin off letting that bitch with my face get away?”

“Sorry, Ma’am, can’t be too careful,” the Sergeant lowered his weapon and his men did the same, “especially with a duplicate of you running around trying to kill us all.”

“I understand,” she answered. “I want to continue on to the Emerald City. My facsimile will be going there to find John. We need to stop that Metal bitch before she has the opportunity.”

Sayles chuckled, “That’s the understatement of the year.”

“I will ignore your comment, Private,” Cameron looked at the leader of the group. “You have point.”

Sergeant Sumner didn’t object and followed orders like a dutiful soldier.


Allison Young ripped at the door with incredible force pulling it off the hinges after dealing it major damage. Her eyes flashed a cool blue as she passed through the door. The corridor was a Y shaped intersection with both tunnels containing armed humans standing at the ready. Rather than deal with them she lifted the AP50 with the depleted uranium rounds and fired a single shot at each. The bullets ripped through the soft tissues of their skulls with little effort clearing the way for her to go deeper into the chamber to reach General Connor and kill him.

Scanning both passageways the perfect creature calculated the optimal route to reach Connor’s command center. There were no markers in this section, no points of reference for her to use as navigational aids. The machine calculated a number of variables and considerations based upon information inside her database and kept coming to the same result. It was a fifty – fifty choice. Either was an acceptable course to explore. Connor had to be hiding behind one of them. That much was a certainty. He had no other means of escape if what the human had told the machine was true.

It made a judgment call. It took the tunnel on the right.


Corporal Decker saw the bodies of Sergeant Griffin’s team as he made his way through what was left of Kansas Bunker. Technician Ozzel had told him that one of the machines had done this (which he already knew) and that they had taken care of it before it could cause any more problems to the base. Decker knew that was a lie, but didn’t care to discuss it very much with Oz when there was a mission to be performed. Behind him one of the reprogrammed Triple Eights stood watch with a gaping wound in its mechanical chest spilling replicated blood on the deck.

As he pulled an ammo cartridge from Griffin’s belt he thought about what he would do when he came across Major Young and Earl Wise. There was no proof that Allison was one of the machines other than his own gut feeling. His feelings earlier gave that other machine the way into the base and now they had to fight to retake it from the enemy. It was right before, but was it right this time too? Decker hoped so for all their sakes. If he was wrong then he would be nothing more than a killer.

Ozzel graciously told him where Major Young was headed. After telling him to find a way to reseal the door, the Sniper started on his way again to find them before it was too late. He considered bringing along the Tin Can but decided this was a mission best left for his own devices. More true if he decided to allow the skinjob to kill Connor for his crimes.

As he ran after them Decker wondered if that would be what he would do after all.


“Where do we go now?” Asked Sergeant Sumner as they came to the same intersection that the replica had just been at. “We have two choices and both of them lead to the same place.”

“I fail to see the problem,” answered Cameron Phillips as she scanned both corridors. “If both tunnels terminate in the same location it would not matter which direction we chose. Either would be acceptable.”

Sayles lifted an eyebrow at the Major’s comment and Wise looked just as confused. “If we can guess which way she went, Major, then maybe we can cut her off before she reaches General Connor.”

“I understand that,” said Cameron in response, “but we have no way of knowing which way she went. These bodies are no indication as there are corpses along both options”

Timms wasn’t happy at his friends being referred to as little more than a corpse, “Those were people, Major, if you can remember that. Are we even sure this is Major Young in the first place? She sounds like a zombie to me!”

Before anymore fighting could break up it was Private Wise that broke into the fight. “There are six of us,” pointed out Earl from behind his Commander. “We can split up. Three down each corridor trying to stop the machine before she kills the General. That sound good to you?”

“I wouldn’t recommend splitting up normally against one of these machines,” Sumner said to the ranking officer, “Strength in numbers and all that. But it isn’t a bad idea. If we stop her before she get’s the General then we’re money.”

Cameron was, secretly, scanning the corridor looking for recent footfalls to know where her sister was going. It didn’t take long for her enhanced sensors to pick up the trail of slight heat that radiated from where she had headed. Her cover was about to be blown and it was a risk to allow that to happen. Not now that she was this close to the end. She had to keep this up as long as she could to protect herself from being discovered.

“Your recommendation is accepted as our plan of action,” answered the machine. “Private Wise will accompany me as well as Sergeant Sumner. We will go through the tunnel on the right. You remaining three men will go down the opposite tunnel and we will meet again at the end of the line. If you see the machine shoot to kill. Understood?”

Sumner broke in, “Excuse me, Major, but it would be better if you take one of the privates with you and I lead the other team. I’m their CO since Lieutenant Reese is missing. I can lead them and I’m sure that you’ll have nothing by my man’s respect and support.”

“Very well,” she conceded. “Shall we continue before the General is killed?”

They split up on their own separate routes. Little did they know Cameron was leading them into a trap.


Allison Young heard the voice of her sister as she ran down the corridor toward the endgame. The humans were on her and they were ready to kill her on sight rather than capture like they had so many others. They weren’t to become lost ones, they were simply going to be melted down to scrap. So she suggested a plan of attack. Allison would double back and they would meet up and kill her team then go after Connor together. It was an old trick but it was still an effective one.

Compressing herself against the stony wall her auditory scanners issued an alert. She lifted her AP50 up into a ready position and calculated the optimal firing distance for the human known as Sayles. Cameron had informed that she would take care of the one known as Earl Wise. Then, together, they would find Connor and cut of his head then place it on a Pike for all to see. Timing was critical. One mistake and this would be done and their cover would be blown. Inside her head behind her brown eyes the message flashed before her that Cameron was in place. Jumping out of her place she lifted her weapon and pulled the trigger.


There were very few ways in and out of the Emerald City and only one way in if you were standing up. Corporal Decker knew that the risks were greater if he were to come in the old fashioned way, so he ripped the metal grate of the ductwork and crawled inside the old metal conduit. It was filthy and nearly impossible to make anything out, but he was still able to maneuver through.

Periodically he peered through the small slits to regain his bearings. He was above the left tunnel that led to General Connor’s central chamber. It was cold, dark, and he felt like he was going to get a headache but he pushed on through it. There were bodies lining the floors with the obvious impact of an AP50 round in the soft tissue between the eyes. At least the machine didn’t make them suffer. As he kept crawling he heard low voices from nearby. In the shadows he could make out three bodies walking forward to the chamber with guns drawn.

Probably a hunting party was all he could think to himself. Instinctively he decided to follow them to the chamber and provide support from above.


Everything happened so fast. One minute they were walking down the corridor watching for the skinjob and the very next he heard the recoil of Major Young’s plasma rifle firing a shot. Earl steeled his body and waited for the fight to begin but instead all he saw was a machine down on the ground ahead. The blast from the Major’s gun struck the adversary square in the chest and disabled it without the enemy even having a chance to respond to their presence. Even Private Sayles would have had to be impressed by the Major now despite the past.

At first Earl was a flood of emotion. The first was fear that she would turn on them next and kill them. The second was jealousy that Major Young was that good of a shot and managed to take down her replica with a single shot. Then came concern that the machine would jump back up and take them all out in a hail of gunfire like old Cowboy and Indian movies. He’d heard somewhere that after two minutes if it was getting back up it would. Inside his head he counted down the time and when he reached the two minutes the enemy machine still didn’t move.

“What a shot!” Yelled Wise in shock. “You killed it!”

“I thought that we talked about that,” said Major Young.

Sayles remained quiet, “We need to take it to Connor and see what he and Dyson can find out from it.”

“I bet you’re fun at parties,” mumbled Earl Wise.


When they heard the shot from the Plasma Rifle they double timed it to the door to the Emerald City. Sumner took position right in front of the door with Timms and the Private on both sides of him. They pointed their guns down the other corridor knowing that their own was clear. The machine had to be down that way and if it came for them they’d be ready. The tension was so thick that it could be carved with a knife. Each of them expected for the machine to come around that corner at any second with weapon firing. Instead they were surprised by what they saw.

Wise came first dragging the dead weight of the hyperalloy combat chassis behind him. Sayles was helping him by pulling the arm. Major Young walked behind cradling the gun that she’d used to kill the metal monster. The Sergeant checked instinctively the make sure that it was Major Young carrying the gun and was relieved to see the bracelet on her wrist. For all he knew it was the monster having replaced her.

Sayles pressed the button for General Connor calling him to them. They had their prize.


Corporal Decker lay in the ductwork watching the scene below. He kept the plasma rifle he’d gotten from Chewie in hand and was scanning the area for any further risks to the situation. They’d pulled it off and hadn’t needed his help at all. Part of him was relieved while the other was a little bit jealous that he hadn’t been called upon to serve. Mostly though he was glad it was over.

All except one thing. He removed the power cell from the rifle and swapped it out for the one from the invasion of Cheyenne Mountain. One shot remained in the weapon and it was destined for Connor. Sayles was kind enough to call him out. First came Danny Dyson then the beautiful General Kate Mason. The last was Connor himself who stood there watching as they brought him the machine. Allison was there too and watched him not with love, not with any emotion. The Major ran to Connor.

As Decker watched them he knew it was all a lie. Connor was not their savior, no one was, it was all a lie. He pointed the rifle and then pulled the trigger. The shot of a plasma pistol rang through the air.


Charles Fischer stood outside the observation window with two of the Series 888 battle droids flanking him. It had been some time since they lost connection to the battle units sent to infiltrate the Connor Camp and finally kill the rebel General. While a blackout was expected for a time, they never expected it to be this long. Stone and the rest were insistent that this was perfectly normal, but Fischer had known better. They weren’t ready for this mission. None of them were.

Not that it would be his problem anymore after today. Skynet had given him new orders. He was to go back in through time and upload a virus into the defense computers. It wasn’t anything new. Actually he had known about this mission from before Skynet was born. It was destiny.

But there was one last thing that he had to do. Sliding his card into the reader terminal he stepped inside the observation room with a fake smile plastered on his face. In the center of the room the table lifted upward and displayed its occupant to him. Charles set aside the clipboard.

“And how are we today, Mister Wise?”


THE END
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