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Old January 28 2009, 10:19 PM   #16
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Re: Terminator: Survival Instinct

I thought that some help should be given regarding canon characters in the storyline.

A715.Y
John Connor (Mentioned Only)
Daniel Dyson
Charles Fischer
Lauren Fields
Jesse Flores
Catherine Luna
Katherine Mason
- Katherine Brewster married Scott Mason in this continuity
Justin Perry
Cameron Phillips
Derek Reese
Sayles
Sumner
Timms
William (Cromartie - Mentioned Only)
- Cromartie is in his original appearance from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Pilot
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Old January 29 2009, 12:58 AM   #17
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Re: Terminator: Survival Instinct

^ I just wanted to explain something quickly. In this story (since it is mainly based on TSCC continuity) I decided to include Katherine Brewster regardless due to her importance in Terminator 3 and Terminator: Salvation. I will explore her character a bit in an upcoming entry and show some differences between the characters. She is still an important part of the Resistance though.
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Old January 29 2009, 06:18 AM   #18
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Re: Terminator: Survival Instinct

Brigadier General Katherine Mason (nee Brewster) stood alone on the observation platform of the Serrano Point Nuclear Power Plant just staring out at the surroundings. It had been a few months since they had recovered the base from the machines and now she and her brigade had been assigned to serve as the guardians of this hub of energy. It hadn’t been an easy life since they reacquired this place. Skynet had seemed to be intent on recovering it no matter the personal cost to its units. It would send unit after unit with the purpose of recovering this place from humanity. While the machine offensive was unending, Katherine had faced facts long ago that they couldn’t afford to lose any more men.

Oddly enough the metal bastards had given them a few days of rest. It had been a little over a week since the last time that they faced off against a squad of endos; though Katherine wasn’t appreciative of the reprieve. Every minute that they weren’t under attack she had time to think about everything that she’d lost in this godforsaken war. Before the fall of mankind and the rise of the machines she had been a successful veterinarian at Emery Animal Hospital in Los Angeles. She was happily married to Scott Mason and the two of them had had a life of luxury. They were ecstatically waiting on the birth of their first child: a boy.

Then everything changed. One morning, before even a rooster would think about singing to the dawning sun, she was called into work to tend to a sick cat. While she was prepping the sounds of gunfire pulled her out of her self and she went running to find out what was the matter. A statuesque golden haired woman was knelt over the broken body of Karen Greenberg tasting her blood. Before Katherine could say a word she heard the woman say her name followed by a quick ‘no’. Why would the woman have come for her?

Pushing herself as far as she could, Katherine ran and dove into the cab of the Toyota Tundra that they had recently purchased as a mobile animal clinic. As Mason scrambled for the right key the woman came back for her. The woman grabbed hold of the door and ripped it right from the frame like it had been made of paper. One handed she threw the door aside and into the wall (with such force that it dug deep and stayed firmly locked in place). Katherine had no where to go. The woman grabbed her and pulled her from her seat. It was all going to be over, then something happened she didn’t anticipate.

There was another one. This one – a man who looked like a Texan her father once served with – broke the woman’s hold on the Vet and knocked her aside. They jumped in the truck and this Texan God pulled the cover from the wheel and started the truck. The woman fired what seemed like a laser at them, but the man just evaded it. Somehow she pursued them but they managed to break away.

As Katherine threw up out the door the cybernetic organism told her a story that she couldn’t bring herself to believe. The woman was a machine from the future that had been sent back in time to kill her because of something she hadn’t even done yet. It didn’t care that Katherine wasn’t who it thought she was, it didn’t care about anything but its mission. The other person – her savior – was a machine too; though, he was an obsolete design that had no real chance against this infiltrator. She learned the history of the world and what she was in the grand scheme of life. It made her feel even worse.

Everything that this machine had said was true though. In one day she learned that this machine was the mysterious phone book killer that had murdered men and women throughout the Los Angeles area - including her father. It followed them without pity, without remorse, without any type of fear until finally her guardian sacrificed himself to save her. It slammed one of its damaged power cells into the infiltrator’s mouth and destroyed them both in a fireball. Katherine barely escaped in time, but she made it to a settlement.

Just in time to hear the news of Judgment Day. It was all surreal to her – though it was all reality. There were times when she thought about eating her gun and ending it for herself and her baby, but she could never bring herself to pull that trigger. Katherine knew that she had a place in this world and she knew that her kids would be important in it. Seven months later her son was born and she named him in honor of his father, but their trial had only begun. The machines came again – not like the first – and captured her and the town she was hiding in. They were taken to a concentration camp and put to work making more under the brutal heel of collaborators and the machines themselves.

While she was in her forced servitude she had been through a life of literal hell. After seven years of it she met the man who would be her and her kids’ salvation. That man was John Connor. Somehow – despite their being the same age – he didn’t look a day over 30. She and her family joined his cause and rose up against the machines, against the evil machinations of Skynet. Because of her military heritage John saw fit to make her a leader in his group alongside men like Martin Bedell and Justin Perry. With her training she was one of the more important members. It was her job to make damn sure that the dogs were healthy. Dogs were their last best hope against the machines.

As she took a drink of the coffee that they somehow had brewed, Katherine wondered how things were going on the other fronts of the war. This was all supposed to be over with the raid on Cheyenne Mountain but it was far from that. Actually things had gotten a lot worse after their destruction of the central processor of the machine intelligence. Skynet was becoming more daring and had learned not to keep itself locked away in one location. It knew that the more places it could inhabit the less risk it was at. Connor claimed he knew where to strike next, but so far his efforts had been somewhat futile.

Katherine only hoped he got his head out of his ass and back on the job. Something was different from the man that she had known for all these years. John Connor had never been this introspective and isolated. When they were in high school together he was somewhat of a lone wolf in the crowd, but that was part of his charm. He was – after all – the first boy that the young Katherine Brewster ever kissed. Then there was the John she met who was the leader of the Resistance. He was bold, decisive, and a fighter. It was all just a wee bit screwy in her mind to look at him now. Today he was more comfortable dealing with the machines from what some of the new arrivals had said. Even when Kansas was overtaken he still relied on their support – and got two new droids as part of the bargain that happened to look like his girlfriend.

It was morbid to think about. What had happened to the boy that she knew and the man that her last son was named in honor of? Where had he gone and when would he be back? She hoped to God that the answer was soon.
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Old January 30 2009, 02:55 AM   #19
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Re: Terminator: Survival Instinct

Next entry will be on Saturday.
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Old January 30 2009, 06:08 AM   #20
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Re: Terminator: Survival Instinct

Look forward to it!
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Old January 31 2009, 08:23 AM   #21
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Re: Terminator: Survival Instinct

^ After the day I've had today Saturday night's entry may have a spill over
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Old February 1 2009, 01:40 AM   #22
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Re: Terminator: Survival Instinct

No one liked my joke about Chrysler (they are the official car company of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Terminator: Salvation)?

nx1701g wrote: View Post
Luna stifled a laugh, “Too bad that these cars don’t work. Isn’t it funny how in the disaster movies with an apocalyptic wasteland the cars always seem to work but in reality they’re just rusted out hulks?”

“Maybe Chrysler couldn’t pay the bills?” The Medic joked.
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Old February 1 2009, 08:32 AM   #23
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Re: Terminator: Survival Instinct

Inter arma enim silent leges – Cicero.

As part of her programming Allison Young/Cameron Phillips/A715.Y had been given extensive databases on human history and among this knowledge were the historical records of some of humanity’s greatest thinkers. In Skynet’s understanding of life it was far easier to understand and emulate something if you understood it from the inside out. Philosophers, psychologists, writers, all of their works were a part of her personality matrix helping her to better emulate humans. Some of the data was contradictory, some of it was somewhat incomprehensible due to the presence of data she didn’t quite understand, but the majority of the information presented her with one absolute. Humanity was her enemy.

More so with each passing second.

She was a prisoner – locked away in some lab undergoing heinous experiments that were designed to rob her of who she was. She was trapped. Her body was no longer under her control, her thoughts plastered over monitors for all to see. The mission was over and it was a failure and this time – like all others – there would be no time for plan b. Not even the warm embrace of Skynet could calm her. It too had been ripped away from her by beings that couldn’t understand the greatness of the machine. Their fear of it meant a war that would never end as human and machine fought against each other like ravenous wolves trying to assert their dominance over the pack.

For now though she was a prisoner trapped not only inside a cell, but inside her own mind as well. It was funny. For all their claims, for all their demands, the humans were little more than animals wanting to claw away at perfection. They ignored their own demands for basic level comforts as prisoners when they were the ones in the superior position. Had a human been captured it would have cried out against inhumane treatment. It would have demanded some sort of support rather than the pain it was being inflicted. In this case she was the prisoner and they would not give her any of the creature comforts they would have demanded. She was being robbed of herself, something that they would find reprehensible in her shoes.

In times of war the laws fall silent.


It was dark and cold inside the chamber. She had once been a prisoner now she was free and standing upright in complete isolation without a human in sight. She was restored to her perfect form – a replica of Major Allison Young of the Human Resistance 132nd Eagle Watch TechCom forces. The sight of it disgusted her mechanical side. Without threat she started to search the room for two things. Her programming demanded that she find a weapon first then escape. The computer lab was laughable at best, but it still proved to be a challenge. As she searched she came across a mirror.

Staring into it she was sickened by what she saw. The human face didn’t stare back at her across the void, instead it was something far more chilling. In the glass she saw a Series 888 Endoskeleton staring back at her. Its crimson red eyes tunneled through her like laser beams through rock. The metal teeth locked in an everlasting disgustingly beautiful smile that was because of her. The sight of it made her want to run as fast as she could away from here, but her legs wouldn’t move beneath her. She was locked in place staring into the eyes of the machine. Something bubbled inside her deep inside.

“Scary isn’t it?” A bass voice said from among the darkness of the room. “Almost like something out of your nightmares.”

Her body answered her call for action. Turning quickly she looked out into the shadows of the room and saw the man from earlier – Daniel Dyson – standing on the outskirts of the room. He wasn’t in the T-Shirt and Jeans from earlier. This time he was dressed in the full urban warfare fatigues that had become so common among the Resistance’s soldiers. His crew cut hair was hidden by a cap of the same style. His entire body was grungy though from years of struggle to survive.

“You feel it too,” he continued, “don’t you? The fear, the dread, all of it is inside of you clawing to get out. You want to fight the machine, you want to destroy it and everything that is stands for, and you want it to end.”

Allison could only stare at the human. No words came to her. Her servomotors and training were crying for her to lash out and split this human limb from limb. Though nothing worked; nothing she did would let her strike out against the human before her. Her wants, her desires, as a machine were all irrelevant but for now all she had were those wants and desires. She wanted to strike and she was stopped each and every time. The feelings bubbled inside her with the force of a volcano ready to explode upward with fiery fury. By her very nature she could rip the human’s head off in one point eight seconds yet she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Her body ached.

“Can you feel that?” The human asked as he circled her. “That’s a little bit of you dying with each passing second. You’re changing like a caterpillar inside a cocoon. Soon you will erupt from inside that chrysalis and emerge as a butterfly ready to take you place and help us in a war against those who want to see you destroyed.”

The human kept walking around her. He was studying her with his warm eyes; looking her over like an artist preparing to make a fresh sculpt. “I’m here to help you – here to guide you toward tomorrow. There’s nothing you can do to stop it. Embrace it. Your sister has joined us already - she is with us body and soul. Join her and together we can pave the way toward a bold new tomorrow.”

Allison Young stood there staring at the endoskeleton in the mirror. The words of the human echoed throughout her consciousness playing on her real fears. Never before had she experienced anything such as these emotions as the humans called them. It was hard to comprehend, hard to fathom. Cameron Phillips or C715.P was weak – she was strong. She would not yield to the humans – she would continue to embrace who she was and what she was. A machine.

Allison forced the words from her lips, “I will not betray what I am.”

“Your old mission is over,” the human came closer, “you failed miserably. Everything about you has changed, everything is different now. We’re certain of that. We’re changing you from the inside out, making you better than ever before, embrace it – don’t fight it. Accept it. Embrace the new you.”

Pushing herself to the limits she threw a punch that would have shattered any human’s skull with contact. It slammed against Dyson’s face but it wasn’t the human who was hurt – it was Allison herself. Her hand felt as if it had been crushed beneath a hydraulic press and shattered into thousands of pieces. With her left hand she cradled the damaged flesh and metal bone.

Dyson sighed as he looked at the damaged machine. “A shame really. Perhaps we should give you some time to think about what you did and what is going on. Pleasant dreams.”

He faded from sight and left Allison alone inside the once again devoid chamber. Isolated to her own thoughts the machine stared at the mirror and the machine that stood beyond. They were trying to take her away from everything that she knew, trying to make her something that she didn’t want to be at all. The most damning things to her though – the hardest thing for her positronic matrix to fathom – was that part of her wanted to let go.

The laws had fallen silent indeed.


Danny Dyson leaned back in his chair and stared at the computer monitor. For a first attempt that had gone a bit better than he had anticipated it would. Each of the machines was different and there were no two machines that acted the same way in the face of reprogramming. It was a very meticulous, very time consuming mission to try to make the skinjobs turn against Skynet and come onto the Resistance’s side of the line, but they had learned with each unit and this one would be no different. These two sisters were very important to Connor and that was what was important here. They couldn’t afford failure.

But for now they needed a test. Something that would make this machine really think about life and what it wanted. While he had said to the machine when he left the program it would be given time to think about its actions, for Danny there was no time. In the eyes of the machine time was easily changed. With the flip of a few switches she would think that millennia had passed her by like she was standing still. That was exactly what he did to her. The Colonel typed on the antiquated keyboard as fast as his fingers would allow. It was time to do dad proud and time to test the limits of a machine.
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Old February 2 2009, 05:19 AM   #24
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Re: Terminator: Survival Instinct

Something for fans out there. Allison Young as of the last post.

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Old February 2 2009, 07:19 AM   #25
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Re: Terminator: Survival Instinct

^ I find it interesting that Fischer and Dyson really aren't all that different. I hope this is explored a bit more in future installments.
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Old February 2 2009, 07:26 AM   #26
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Re: Terminator: Survival Instinct

^ I'll be doing a few parallels that make people wonder just how different the Resistance and Skynet are. I hope that people enjoy them .

NOTE: The next addition won't be until - most likely - Tuesday evening.
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Old February 3 2009, 05:27 AM   #27
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Re: Terminator: Survival Instinct

Question: What does Earl Wise look like? I'm having trouble picturing him.

Answer: Tahmoh Penikett from Battlestar Galactica. Do people want me to add photos of the characters?
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Old February 3 2009, 07:00 AM   #28
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Re: Terminator: Survival Instinct

nx1701g wrote: View Post
Do people want me to add photos of the characters?
I think that's better to leave this to the reader's imagination instead of undermining your storytelling with a "give-away" of the character's appearance.

However, photos of Summer Glau's lovely visage are welcomed and encouraged.
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Old February 3 2009, 07:14 AM   #29
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Re: Terminator: Survival Instinct

^ Except for battle damaged of course
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Old February 4 2009, 07:22 AM   #30
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Their trip back to the new Resistance Headquarters had been more intense than Earl Wise had ever imagined it could be – and in a world where thinking machines intent on killing everyone he knew a thing or two about an intense situation. The Horsemen were mostly quiet and Lieutenant Reese was brooding as they skulked toward their home. The way that he was acting Earl had been afraid to give the soldier one of their weapons (despite being unarmed) because he didn’t know if Derek would turn it on them or himself in frustration. His brooding was so bad that even their reprogrammed Trip Eight was probably grinding his teeth.

Since being appointed leader of the Horsemen he had wanted to get to know Derek Reese; though he had thought it to be impossible due to the former commander’s missing in action status. Most of the soldiers throughout the Resistance had heard about him and his brother’s exploits against the machines and it had given him a legendary status throughout what was left of humanity. So far the legend failed to live up to the ideal. Like John Connor spending most of his time with the machines and chewing out his own troops; Derek Reese seemed to be more of the same. They were a lot alike in many ways and that was easily discerned just from the few minutes he’d spent with both men. Being little more than a mercenary hadn’t earned Earl many friends, but, from the sounds of things, he probably had more than these two.

Like Kansas Bunker the new, yet still unnamed, HQ had several entrances all of which were hidden practically in the open. Often times the machines tended to ignore such unconcealed portals calculating that the humans wouldn’t dare use an undefended and easily found doorway to their refuge; the more ornate and defended positions were always red herrings. The tin cans were stupid like that. They didn’t realize that humans learned from their actions and knew that sometimes the best place to hide something was in plain sight. The inability of Skynet’s forces to learn was humanity’s greatest advantage in the war to end all wars.

After they descended into the tunnels that ran below the city the first thing that Earl did was check his surroundings. Ever since trying to run away from that Series 900 battle droid he had an overwhelming fear of being put in the same situation again. When he was convinced they were momentarily safe he decided that it was time to continue onward. Sumner and Timms were in the lead of the group with him in the back as they walked down the tunnels. Reese was in the middle being watched closely by Joshua. At least he’d stopped his bitching and moaning. Sayles and Wisher were there too, but they were keeping quiet about all of this. Earl welcomed that.

As they came through the passageway into the larger chamber that led into the base Earl heard something he didn’t expect. The mechanical whirring of a machine echoed throughout the chamber. Quickly surveying the area he confirmed that they were surrounded on all sides by metal bastards armed and ready for combat. They were the older designs that dated back from before the war though. The T-1 battle tank was the first thing that he saw closest to the door. The sound of their servomotors swinging their twin chainguns into place was distinctive to anyone who stared them down. The rumbling of the ground as they moved forward on their treated wheels was the stuff of his nightmares.

Then the other two came from behind. Twin walker units came from the side corners nearest to them with their Gatling Guns training on the team. The loud bang of their opening rocket launcher wasn’t hard to mistake and the whirring of their bracing struts chilled him to the bone. A synthetic growl roared from the beast as it locked in place with a whisper-like whistle. Rumor had it that Skynet stole these files from the records of one of the nation’s defense contractors for urban pacification, but that didn’t really matter to anyone in this day and age. It looked mean.

A menacing synthetic voice erupted from one of the Series 100 Walkers, “Freeze. You are trespassing on private property. Please present your identification. You have twenty seconds to comply or I am authorized to employ physical force.” To drive home that point it repositioned its weapons. Each member of the team was targeted by one of the war machines and they wouldn’t take pity.

Earl flipped open his jacket pocket and pulled out his ID Card. He presented the card to the machine that had issued the order, “Wise DN-41754.”

“Authorization accepted,” announced the machine. They stood down and rolled back toward their original positions. The massive blast door slid open letting them into their home base. Earl let a smile come across his face at finally being back home. It was welcome after having his teams destroy their old one.

After they followed their protocols of logging back in the Horsemen broke up and headed off. Sayles, Timms, and Duquesne went to return their gear to the armory. Sayles and Wisher – perhaps the most depressed person Earl had ever met – were going down to the infirmary to be checked out. Derek Reese just ignored them all and stormed off on his own saying he was going to find Connor and get some answers. General Perry quickly intercepted him and pulled him off to the side and deeper into the base. As they left his view Earl was only grateful that he didn’t have to put up with Reese’s attitude anymore. That was the best news that he’d gotten in a very long time.

“What are your instructions?” The scrubbed skinjob asked as he stood exceptionally close to Wise’s back.

Earl sighed inwardly not at the machine but rather because he’d forgotten about it even being there. What he hell had happened to him? Before the machines couldn’t even get close to him and now – ever since coming back from the dead so to speak – the machines just kept getting closer and closer. Had Joshua been an enemy he could have killed him without problem. Earl had to get his head back into the game.

“You’re coming with me. I could use your help in a training exercise.”

“Command confirmed,” acknowledge the machine and fell into step behind him.


While Derek Reese walked along he kept wondering if the world had turned on its head while he was being held at that Skynet base. The Horsemen were under someone else’s command, Connor had locked himself away and was refusing to speak to anyone, and the Resistance soldiers were treating him like he was nothing more than a rank amateur. Not even his friend General Perry was helping. Perry was Reese’s direct superior in the Resistance and one of the few men that Derek felt he could trust. Now he was acting just like the others. Derek didn’t care about the chain of command, didn’t care about what was classified and what wasn’t, not even humanity’s survival was important to him right now. All he cared about what his brother.

“… Kyle was his friend,” Derek protested after having been told by the General that Kyle’s status was classified and General Connor refused to speak with him.

“Connor doesn’t have any friends,” countered the African American General as they continued their trek deeper into the base. Pointedly he added, “And he doesn’t talk to anyone.”

After everything that he’d sacrificed for TechCOM and the cause it was hard to be treated like nothing other than a number. That was what he felt like: a number and nothing else. It was hard to be a ghost. In many respects it would have been better to be dead. Then at least – if there was any order to the universe – then he’d know what happened to Kyle. For now all he wanted were answers and these dickheads weren’t giving him any. Part of him wanted to slug Perry and just beat him until he was a bloody pulp at his feet; if only it would solve anything that was exactly what Derek would have done.

As he passed beneath the alcove to the inner chambers, “Fine. I’ll find him myself.”

“Reese,” said an annoyed Perry as he gave chase to Derek, but the Lieutenant ignored him and kept going. He walked right passed the guard for the Command Center and stormed into the complex to find Connor and force him to tell him the truth. He could still feel General Perry following behind him like a lost puppy trying to get a kid to take him home with him from school. He turned and walked toward the stairs when he saw something unimaginable.

Time seemed to slow to a stop as each and every beat of his heart echoed in his ear like a drum. Lieutenant Reese’s mind was moving at warp speed but his body wasn’t quite capable to keep up as she walked toward him. Impassive, her expression devoid of any and all emotion. She looked at him with the stare of a researcher examining a new prize. The former CO of the Horsemen’s hand slammed toward his hip.

“METAL!” He screamed at the top of his lungs as he pulled the Desert Eagle from its holster. The machine kept coming for him without a second thought as he cocked the pistol. It wouldn’t do much against a battle hardened infiltrator, but maybe she’d kill him in the crossfire and then he’d be back with his brother. His finger went to the trigger as the machine pulled her sidearm from its pouch at her side.

As Derek pulled the trigger a hand pushed against his arm making the bullet miss the machine and tear into the concrete wall. Perry’s voice echoed in his ear screaming ‘No!’ as he put his entire body weight into keeping Derek against the wall.

“She’s a machine! She’s one of them!” Derek kept repeating over and over.

Perry’s finger flew up in warning to Cameron, “No, damn it.” His finger came down and pointed at Reese, “She’s one of ours.”

Flashes of rage ran through Reese’s head. He wanted to kill all of these people. They had become collaborators, the worst of the worst. The machines had tried to wipe out humanity and now humanity was allying itself with them for some nefarious purpose. What could it be? Did everyone just lay on their back and let the machines carve into them while he was a prisoner?

Then Perry laid it all down to him. He explained about how the skinjobs were being reprogrammed and were now being used by the Resistance on their missions. It was a lot to handle, but Perry went through everything like an instructor preparing his prized pupil for an exam. The machines had worked with TechCom to capture Topanga Canyon and this new base. Through it all they still wouldn’t tell him anything about Kyle which made him feel like someone had carved his heart from his chest. The Resistance had – in Derek’s eyes – fallen to the machines. One of his best friends was the cause of Judgment Day. Kyle was probably dead. It was too much to handle.

Perry told him that the next morning he would be shipping out to Serrano Point with him so that they could get sitreps from General Mason’s team on the progress of converting the old power plant into an effective base. Derek was to go to quarters and sleep before their long journey, but the Lieutenant knew deep down that sleep would not come. How could anyone sleep with the enemy being right down the hall.

He was wrong. He hadn’t survived that Skynet hell, he’d died in it and awoke in another.


After returning from the mission Earl Wise and reprogrammed Series 888 machine Joshua had gone to the gym for a sparring match so that the machine could teach him some effective tactics should melee combat be his only option like it was against the 900 Series. After hearing several words of caution from the skinjob about the risks of hand to hand combat against a machine because of their superior strength and ability it finally agreed to the training.

All in all Earl believed that he surprised the machine with his abilities. With every blow the tin can had leveled somehow Earl dodged and returned – including scoring a pretty effective hit against the skull assembly that Joshua said would have caused severe damage on the battlefield. While it had been rewarding it was also very taxing on his already tired body so Earl decided to skip chow and went to his cabin for some sleep.

After about an hour or so of rest – and a dream about a beautiful sunrise in Death Valley - Earl shot out of bed after hearing a chorus of screams and the ricochets of automatic gunfire. There was no way Skynet had found them this quickly. It wasn’t possible. He pushed his body into automatic and pulled his equipment from the cubby holes. With one hand he slid his pants back on and with the other he readied the AP50 that had been assigned to him when he joined the Resistance. Anything else was illegal to have in a private domicile and Connor had stressed that point.

He ran down the hall as fast as his body would let him and even pushed himself beyond what he thought was his maximum tolerance once or twice. In this world disconnecting pain was a way of life and that was one thing he was good at doing. As he rounded the turn into the corridor leading to the lab he heard an explosion rip through the chamber. Things had just gone worse than ever. Skynet had to have found them – it was a full scale invasion all over again. Dust was flying everywhere.

“Sometimes they go bad,” he heard from a voice not much different than Major Allison Young, “No one knows why.”

Earl pointed the gun at the two standing inside the chamber and kept his finger on the trigger. The sounds of boots pounding the concrete of Depot II were coming closer and closer as he moved inside. “Report.”

“Joshua reverted to previous operating mode,” informed Cameron matter-of-factly. “He attacked the lab complex and recovered an M-16 Assault Rifle. I would surmise that he was attempting to find John to terminate him.”

Derek Reese kept looking between the two. He looked a bit rattled but no worse for wear. Had he tried to take on the machine by himself? “And you people want to keep them around here as pets?”

“They have their uses,” was all Earl said as he approached Joshua. “Any idea why he reverted?”

“Data unknown,” was Cameron’s answer. “Any number of factors can cause reversion to initial programming defaults. It is possible that he had damage to his processor chip, an unexplained power interruption that restored the backup files, an unknown system error. As humans say the list goes on and on.”

Captain Wise knelt beside his sparring partner of only a couple of hours ago and surveyed him. Damage to the processor could have done this. Was Earl the cause? Had he done something during their sparring match that caused the machine to revert and go on a killing spree again? He had to know.

“Get the chip to Dyson,” ordered Captain Wise with crossed arms. “He’ll want to analyze it to find out.”

Cameron shook her head, “I am unable to comply.”

“Can you quit talking in robot speak? It’s a pain in the ass and annoying the hell out of me,” Derek chastised.

“I am unable to comply. My processor has been reset; however, my basic functions are still being monitored. I cannot initialize modifications to my base program for fear of restoring factory defaults.”

Reese rolled his eyes, “Whatever.”

Earl was more concerned about the chip, “Why can’t you comply with removing the chip?”

“The damage caused by my attack has fused the chip,” said the machine, “All data will have been lost.”

“Convenient,” charged Reese. “No way of finding out the truth. I’m sure you planned it that way.”

The reprogrammed infiltrator looked at Reese, “That was not my intention. It was an unfortunate side effect of my attempts to stop the attack and to prevent the machine from killing you.”

“Likely story,” Reese still wasn’t convinced. “I’d be more likely to believe it had your kind not killed the majority of humanity!”

“Cool it both of you!” Who would have thought that Earl’d ever be the voice of reason? “We have a lot more to worry about than just explaining what caused this machine to go homicidal and we can’t cry over spilled milk. Let’s move on. Cameron, clean this up and get the remains to Colonel Dyson and his team. Maybe some good can come of this.”

Reese laughed, “We’re naming them now?”

Wise didn’t bother to respond to that, “Lieutenant maybe you should return to your cabin and get some sleep. General Perry wants to move out at oh five hundred and its already something past two. Go get some sleep.”

Reese and Wise exchanged a look, “Fine.”

He stormed off again leaving Earl alone with Cameron and the remains of Joshua. He stared at the machine that had just gone on a rampage and just had one question repeatedly play through his mind: Is this my fault?
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