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Old February 19 2010, 12:01 AM   #196
The Badger
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

'Oh my...'? Now where have we heard that before?

Another enjoyable chapter.
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Old February 19 2010, 11:29 PM   #197
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

^ I dunno :-D.
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Old February 22 2010, 04:57 AM   #198
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

NX I'm convinced you should make the next Terminator movie pitch. You've got this franchise covered nicely. Another great installment.
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Old February 24 2010, 03:58 AM   #199
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

^ High praise indeed.

I am working on the next sections now and I hope (key word) to try to get potions of the next chapter out this weekend.
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Old March 15 2010, 01:55 AM   #200
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

It sat lifeless in the darkness of the world. An impassable wall made of the hardest mixture of concrete and steel that Skynet could develop, the northern defensive perimeter was capable of withstanding a wave of tanks rushing into it without nearly a scratch. As an added means of defense sentry posts were placed at equal distances along each wall. Originally these posts were outfitted with only high capacity .50 caliber machine guns; nevertheless, recent events had caused the necessity for something with bigger teeth. When the breakthrough into plasma weapons had been made Skynet outfitted each of its most important outposts with the phased plasma rifle gun banks capable of burning unhealable holes into the bodies of its enemies. There was the possibility of survival with the guns; no chance with them. As an added incentive for protection sentinels were on constant patrol along the outer perimeter waiting for an enemy to pop its head up from among the muck.

Unit 426 was one such sentinel. A Series T-1 battlefield robot, 426 was one of the only members of his model line still in active operation in the future war. In comparison to the rest of his line that were still in operation it was antiquated. T1s had been routinely updated with stronger armor and more capable weapons since the Resistance came into existence. 426 was not as lucky. The machine still had the same silver exoskeleton protecting his mechanical innards as the day that he rolled off the automated assembly line. His weapons emplacements were still the miniguns that he sported during his first hunt. The targeting system had been upgraded to become more sophisticated, but that was the extent of his enhancements.

Not that it cared. Series T-1 units could not feel emotion and barely had what was considered to be sentience. They had enhanced problem solving abilities and algorithms available to assist with extermination of humans, but they were not as capable as their cousins when it came to intelligence. In many respects T1s and T70s were more like pets that Skynet had kept around in low profile assignments. They were guard dogs that kept the livestock in their neat little pens and out of their master’s way. There were more impressive assignments available, more tactically stimulating jobs that it could be doing, but it was assigned to be here and here it would stay. It was the first line of defense for Topanga Canyon against any threats that would want to disrupt the great work. It would not fail as a protector.

Motion sensors inside of its body signaled an alert. A detailed program executed in a nanosecond swinging the battlefield robot around at the joint where the torso met the rubberized treads that allowed it movement. Twin gattling gun arms rose from the standby position to active mode and began coordinating for a firing solution. It was a tactic derived from human psychology, but it was still just as effective today. Skynet had intended those movements to make the unit appear bigger than its already massive frame was. Twin laser sights lit and began teasing the ground taking readings looking for the source of the motion.

Tracker alerts weren’t anything new for it to experience. When it was first constructed the motion tracker was a rear facing scanning system only and it was so sensitive that a moving piece of paper was enough to make it set off. Because of the false starts Skynet had diminished the sensitivity to a great extent in the first refit era, but that allowed for too much to get through. Eventually they found the right balance through trial and error. It would also be given a forward facing scanner in addition to the original rear facing one. Every once in a while though it would still have these false alarms. The rats were a common source of them as they scurried through the bones of the human animals killed on Judgment Day.

That was the case again today. A large rat, perhaps the size of a cat, scurried among the flotsam with a piece of what looked like flesh between its teeth. Tactical alerts denied its request to fire with override alerts and the machine entered into stand down mode Gun turrets lowered and when to standby and the machine resumed its survey of the area. Just as soon as it went into its relaxed state its big brother on the wall sprung to life. A larger version of its design, the gun emplacements attached to the towers normally started life as Harvesters and were salvaged to serve in the new role. The two plasma turrets spun around and pointed into the night sky in an active search mode. A third turret rose from behind the unit and began searching as well. Despite it being an ineffective unit for an attack from above, 426 restored combat mode and began watching the skies for any contacts.

Active spatial mapping wasn’t nearly as advanced as the thermal imagining that the emplacement was using, but it was still keener than a standard human eye. Still it was hard for the machine to make out anything of value in the haze. Targeting protocols searched with multiple reticules trying to find the source but nothing was coming up. It still did not feel jealousy toward its brother despite its disadvantage. Rather it sent a request to its superior requesting that the next generation upgrade, should one ever happen again, include either RADAR access or enhancements to the image mapping software.

Mere seconds after the request was transmitted the reticules pinpointed the source. Visual scanners zoomed in to maximum and the Series T-1 identified the source of the alarms. A wave of fighters, database analysis identified them as two Hunter Killer attack fighters and three Hunter Killer troop transports, inbound. It did not understand the logic of the attack order. Allied vehicles were not a matter of concern but rather were welcomed by the maker as it meant new supplies and new humans for analysis and study. It could not comprehend why its brother did not stand down nor why it signaled an alert code to bring the sentries online.

Confounding the machine even more was the fact that the emplacement opened fire. Dozens of plasma bolts fired from the massive guns on the turrets arms and raced toward the flying machines. They immediately broke off and engaged evasive maneuvers to avoid the incoming spheres of energy. Instead of ceasing the attack, the turret merely kept firing at them not realizing it was firing upon one of its own. Perhaps it had a software malfunction which, though rare, would explain the erratic behavior. 426 sent a notification of the error to Skynet alerting it of this mistake and requested instruction wondering if it should fire on the emplacement, target the incoming transports, or resume the patrol route incase anyone tried to take advantage of the gap in their defense grid. It never anticipated the answer that it got.

Skynet ordered it to engage.

Bringing up the targeting protocols it pivoted upward and acquired a firing solution upon the inbound fighters. It lifted the General Electric .50 caliber machine guns and began firing the depleted uranium shells that it held inside its internal ammunition magazines. When it was designed, by humans, it was intended to be able to fire 3,000 rounds of ammo in the period of a minute. Skynet had improved upon that ability for its brothers, but 426 was still a subject of that figure. Like the phalanx system mounted onboard primitive United States Navy warships it sought to mainly eliminate any incoming projectiles that may damage the structure. The T-1 knew, despite its limited intelligence, it would not be effective in this fight but it knew what it had to do. It kept firing at the target while others moved into position to join it. Nonetheless it didn’t take long to run out of bullets. The Hunter Killers were simply too much for its systems to handle. If it had been outfitted with the plasma cannons like so many others it would’ve been able to keep up and would still be in this fight.

Deep inside of its processors though alarms sounded again. The machine’s targeting scanners locked onto six independent heat signatures having just detached from the Hunter Killer fighters and inbound toward its location. Normally it would’ve swung its guns around and fired in a suppressive barrage to prevent the missiles from getting through. With its weapons depleted that option was no longer available. The gun emplacement behind it managed to destroy one of the incoming projectiles, but the other five proved to be more elusive.

A plume of fire erupted like lava from a volcano where T1-426 had just been sitting. Flaming metal, debris, and dirt rained down on the ground around the protective border fence. Glowing red, fiery treads landing amid the middle of the ruins of yesterday. Then another explosion rocked the Topanga Canyon Compound as the remaining missiles detonated the massive sentry post. While it rained upon the barriers, secondary explosions inside the barricade began erupting too. Where once had been an impenetrable block now a gaping wound bled fire upon the ground around it. There was no fire brigade ready to storm out and douse the flames. Instead of evacuating remaining forces to seal the breach instead the computer controlling the outpost brought its children deep inside. It was preparing itself for a fight to the death and it wasn’t entirely sure which side would win this time. But the machine would go down fighting if today turned out to be its judgment day.
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Old March 15 2010, 01:55 AM   #201
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

Before the fall of mankind Justin Perry had been a soldier. Enlisting not long after September 11, 2001, he’d seen dozens of conflicts some of which were kept off the pages of the history books. He was part of a specialized division that gathered intelligence in the Iraqi capital and was even poised to take out senior leadership members on more than one occasion. Each time, however, their leaders had pulled them away at the last second. When war was officially declared, however, there were no holds barred. Because of his abilities he quickly rose through the ranks and, eventually, he was able to attend Officer’s Training. The only problem was that he lost his field position with his new rank. Because of a number of factors, though, the military leadership opted instead to place him in a recruiter’s role in California. He didn’t oppose their decisions, it wasn’t his place, but with the return to Iraq he always felt that his services could be better suited on the battlefield. Then Judgment Day came.

It was only by sheer happenstance that Perry had been able to survive. A constant survivalist, Perry had taken personal leave time to go on a hiking trip in the wilderness. He had from hunting for food when he heard the first reports come in through the radio. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing and assumed that it was someone making a joke. The hicks were probably broadcasting from some tent somewhere trying to get a rise out of people much like Orson Wells famous recitation of War of the Worlds from ages past. The then Captain was going on with his dinner when Judgment Day visited him personally. In the distance he saw the traces of a flash and the unmistakable boom. Rushing as fast as his tired body would let him; Perry climbed to a better vantage and looked out upon the ruins of what was once Denver, Colorado.

The old soldier knew that he had to get back home to California to check on his family. Quickly gathering his things Perry stowed them in his Jeep and set out on the highway trying to get home. He didn’t go lower than ninety the entire trip from what he remembered and, when he got to his destination, he wished that he had. It would have kept his life in a semblance of normalcy. Against his own mind’s better judgment, Justin went to look for his family. The fallout was already starting to get to him, but he wouldn’t allow himself to run. He would stand up to any foe and give his life if there were even a chance.

His training came in handy. He raided a local pharmacy – it was closed anyway – for potassium iodate pills and luckily found some (despite the pills not being normally stockpiled by civilian pharmacies). Food and water were stored in his Jeep just because he always had wanted to be prepared. He knew he didn’t have enough for the long haul, but six days was better than nothing. Traveling crosswind, though deeper into the heart of destruction, he headed toward home. His heart gave him hope, but his head was preparing him for the worst. Somehow though his heart had been right. His family had managed to survive and they were able to set out for safety.

But the damage had already started for each of them. They couldn’t get different clothing because none was available. Showers were impossible in the muck and debris strew world they were living in. Hospitals were out of the question because they would be major targets toward the new enemy. But Perry knew there were still people out there. Every so often he’d spot an unmanned Predator scout in the air probably looking for survivors. The government would be setting up camps to help the survivors – if the government still existed that was. They had the potassium iodate so that would give them some protection at least temporarily. Though they had to get out of the ruins of LA. LA would become even more of a wasteland than it already had been.

Most of the radio stations had been knocked out and the Emergency Broadcasting System had taken over the few that were still transmitting. The damage had been worse than just on the West Coast. The entire United States, Russia, Britain, and China had been hit by strikes coming from each of their neighbors. The southern hemisphere had been left mostly unscathed in the conflict, but there were no guarantees that it would remain that way. There were emergency shelters available to the survivors, but overcrowding was a significant threat.

Luckily they were able to locate one of those shelters not long after his Jeep ran out of gas and died on the side of a desert road near an old gas station (ironically it was out of gas). Called Haven by its administrators, Justin and his family moved in and became leaders of the enclave. Perry himself even became the Head of Security because of his rank and position in the military. Life was as comfortable as it was going to get for them, and he was going to make the best of it.

Not long after though rumors started circulating that the military had been reborn to fight against a new superpower that had emerged from the ashes of the world. Little was known about this mysterious Skynet – who would pick that name anyway for a government – but the Resistance was mobilizing to fight against it. Mysteriously he received a package from an old colleague named Corporal Luz Ortega urging him to find a way to the Darwin Research Institute in South America. Perry knew, deep down, that it was impossible though. He was needed here; even more so than the Resistance needed him.

Eventually the war found its way to him. The administrators of the enclave, however, decided not to fight. They believed that peace was the only way that Skynet would ignore them and allow them to live. That was their mistake. Justin was ordered out of the enclave for his growing militaristic suggestions. His family supported him and wanted to go too, but he wouldn’t allow it. He hoped that they were right and that Skynet would allow them peace, but he knew that would never happen if he remained.

He eventually found the Resistance and rose in the leadership of the devastated Los Angeles. The old soldier led his own teams against the machines for several years until Ashdown ordered an attack on the Skynet VLA in the Mojave region. He objected but his commander overruled him. They launched their invasion and paid heavily for it. His entire team was wiped out by a Skynet booby trap while he tried to rescue a group of hostages being taken by a Transport. Justin later learned the truth about what was going on. The Resistance had discovered a hidden control signal buried in the machine code that would bring them to victory against the machines. His heart hoped that it was true, but his gut told him that it wasn’t to be trusted. Perry opposed the invasion of Skynet Central, but the Resistance pressed forward anyway. It was their destruction.

What was left of his group returned to Haven only to find it buried in rubble. Like the world he’d been devastated by what he’d seen, but he had a new mission to help the survivors to live. They pressed on making raids, building shelter after shelter, just surviving. They were like mercenaries fighting a guerrilla war and it was a war they knew they had no chance of winning. There were times he thought about eating his gun, but he also knew that he was their last best hope.

In time the machines found them again, but they didn’t kill. Instead they took him and his people hostage and delivered them to an armed and operational Aircraft Carrier in what looked like San Diego. The machines experimented upon them, poked and prodded them like rabbits, but they fought and survived. More and more of his former allies were coming back different from their experiments. They weren’t broken, but they were more secluded and secretive. They almost looked and acted like zombies from the old movies. Perry didn’t understand, but he knew that it wasn’t a good thing. The machines had found ways to control them.

Perry knew his time was almost up, but that was when they saw new faces running among the old cages that held them. Wearing rags and carrying guns that looked like they weighed more than the rescuers did, they swore that they were sent to rescue them. There was a younger man with them that they said was their leader. He looked like a kid, but he had a warrior’s serenity about him that Justin had seen only a handful of times during his career. He looked hurt by something that Justin didn’t know about, but he also knew that the boy before him was the prophesized leader that he’d heard so much about during his time with the Resistance. Not that he believed in it, but Perry knew this man was his superior.

Now here they were in what was, in his opinion, one of the most important battles that humanity would ever face. Ironically their war against the machines had taken on a new life with their comrades in arms for this particular sortie. Machines themselves were helping them to invade this base and they were going to help the humans fight and destroy their own. The newly appointed General didn’t know if he trusted the machines, but he knew that they had little option available. If they were going to win they needed the machine’s help.

So far they’d made good on their promise. Skynet’s forces had outfitted them with Phased Plasma Rifles that the Resistance could only dream of possessing. These weren’t the salvaged weapons that they’d been collecting but rather factory fresh and fully charged weapons capable of tearing machines to shreds. He would’ve liked to test that ability on one of his new colleagues, but General Connor had demanded that they remain in support of the metal bastards with them in the transport. Plus, they were cooperating. The Hunter Killer escorts had, from what he could tell, just fired on the base and that was something that he didn’t expect to see.

Nor did he ever expect to see a machine protecting a human, yet the one called Catherine Weaver was sitting next to a girl that had been injured during the evacuation. The replica of the woman gently stroked the girl’s fire red hair, yet its face showed no emotion. Big eyes just watched the girl intently as she lay bleeding on the bench. One of his soldiers – Catherine Luna – sat to the woman’s side with her hands firmly on her rifle. If the skinjob tried anything she’d blow its metal face off.

Connor finished detailing the plan to his people from the front of the cabin. The Resistance teams were splitting into three different waves during this engagement. Perry and his men were going to be heading to the Operations Command Center where they would disable the primary command systems of the base so that it could be taken. Perry and his men were going to be going into the Security Section to disable the internal security systems of the base so that the gun emplacements would work for the Resistance and not the machines. Major Barnes and his team were going after the factory and they were to destroy the production machinery so that additional machines couldn’t join the war effort against them.

Interestingly enough, however, Connor hadn’t put Kyle Reese in a senior leadership position. Reese had been the leader of the enclave that had rescued Connor years ago and had proven his command abilities time and again. Rather than give him command over one of the squads he had Reese assigned as a Liaison between Perry’s 132nd and Connor’s command group. If you looked at it objectively it’d seem like General Connor was playing politics and putting his old boss to the side, but Justin could sense there was more to it than that. If Connor were a prophesized leader then maybe, just maybe, he had some inside knowledge none of the others possessed. Maybe.

While he watched the door one of the machines – an impossibly tall battle unit that looked more like it was from a T-600 than one of the new Series 800 bastards – stepped in front of him. The bald headed machine looked down upon him with brown eyes and spoke in an unnaturally deep voice. “Statement: I have been assigned to your operational unit by my superior.”

“Good for you,” the General answered through clenched teeth but saw General Connor flash him a glare. “You’ll be covering point.”

“Statement: Orders confirmed,” it answered swinging its pulse rifle around effortlessly.

Quickly the General’s hands scrambled toward his own rifle before his own mind reminded him of what was going on and put him back at as close to ease as he could possibly have. General Perry didn’t want to fight alongside of these machines, they would turn on him and he was sure of it, though he would follow his commander’s orders.

Just like the good soldier that he was.
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Old March 15 2010, 01:56 AM   #202
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

The minute that the transport doors lifted the fireworks began. The line of protectors for the Topanga Canyon Base opened fire with everything that they had at their disposal. Thousands of bullets raced into the opening as the machines sought out any targets of opportunity that they could eliminate. The transport itself took heavy damage making it impossible for the Resistance and its Skynet allies to ever use them again for escape, but escape wasn’t on the order of business just yet.

From the sides of the transports they emerged. Brandishing weapons that humans couldn’t dream of carrying, the first wave of Series 600 and 800 battle units stepped outside and let slip the dogs of war. They met the shots of the other machines with their own guns. Plasma charges and bullets tore into the metal and synthetic flesh of the battle line. Both sides saw casualties as their weapons broke down the waves. Yet both sides kept coming until they entered into a head to head assault. Older machines fought newer. Nonhumanoid hunter killers and humanoid infiltrators fought hand to hand. Infiltrators fought against their endoskeleton doubles.

Kyle Reese couldn’t believe what his eyes were showing him. He watched amazed as both side’s numbers engaged and fought tooth and nail against one another. It was amazing to see and he wished that he had an old styled camera so that he’d never forget what his eyes were showing him. He knew that the new infiltrators were capable weapons of war, hell one nearly had killed him at their LA base, but he never knew they’d be so capable against their own kind as well. One of the 800s had just went so far as to rip a Series 600 endoskeleton in half with one well placed hit! Derek would’ve loved to see this.

Derek where are you? He clenched his eyes shut and drove those thoughts away from his mind. With the battle before them they couldn’t afford to be worried about anything but accomplishing the mission at hand. That meant that they couldn’t have a single distraction as they engaged the enemy. Normally he would’ve been a strong proponent for each of them remembering fallen loved ones in this fight, but emotion could overtake you and make you sloppy. How many of their friends were gone now because of emotion getting in the way of the mission?

“Second line standby for deployment.”

John Connor’s voice echoed in his head. Not long ago the kid, hell they were practically the same age, had wandered into his base camp (naked) and stolen his coat. Now he was his boss and issuing the orders after three years of their working together. Kyle had never thought that John was out for his command – who would want it – but now their triad was down to John issuing the orders and Kyle having to follow them. Worse, John had made him simply a Sergeant instead of allowing him to have a rank of any real power or decision making. Maybe it was for the best? Kyle was always happier as a soldier and knew that was the place where he could do the most good. Still it was hard to come to terms with. His friend led a coup.

Then again maybe this was always meant to happen. John’s destiny was something he’d been informed of and, to an extent, believed. Connor always had more knowledge about Skynet than any of them and, better still, he had always been able to provide some of the best tactics that they could ever hope to use. Maybe this was his destiny finally playing itself out. If he were the prophesized man to bring about the end of the machines Kyle would follow him to the gates of hell and back again. He’d already rescued him once from the machines and proven his worth, maybe this was destiny finally getting its way?

“Deploy! Deploy! Deploy!”

Kyle and his men disembarked from the transport with their weapons on full automatic and firing at the enemy combatants. The plasma rifle’s of Skynet had incredible kick and they were hard to control, but he wouldn’t allow himself to fail. Around him though there were people dying left and right. While Kyle’s pulse slammed into the optical scanners of a Series 600 endoskeleton, the machine’s gattling gun laid waste to the head of the soldier beside Kyle. Red mist covered the younger Reese boy’s body as he dropped to the deck to avoid another shot from an enemy warrior.

Rolling behind a barricade he popped his head up long enough to see an endoskeleton coming right for him. Disarmed (literally in the case of his missing right one and figuratively because he didn’t have a gun) the machine locked onto him and started marching after him. Going over the different units in his head he thought, for a moment, that it was a T-700 because of the darker coloring but the silver specks told him that it was an 800 and, thusly, a lot stronger. It also meant that the best weakness against the machine was to attack the pistons that held its torso and legs together. It was the best shot.

Kyle pulled the pin on a homemade grenade that he’d brought along from Ellison’s compound and counted down the seconds in his head. They had a five second delay on these particular models and that was about how long it would take for that machine to reach him. He counted the seconds and saw it come around the corner a whole two seconds early. Pushing his body to the limit he evaded the hammer like fall of the machine’s remaining arm and, miraculously, slammed the grenade in one of the openings near the spine. He pushed himself over the barricade and hid just as the grenade exploded.

The fire singed his back as it shot over him and retreated backward. Kyle heard as the machine’s mangled torso slammed against the cement pillar and struggled to hold on. Kyle jumped to his feet and released three shots into the chip port of the endoskeleton. It melted the alloy inward and the machine’s red eyes dimmed to nothingness. He made a mental note that the foolish attack had actually worked but then added to that note that it would probably never work again in a million years. Still if the chips were down and he didn’t have another option he’d try it again. It was at least better than trying to survive hand to hand against one of those monsters.

Over the secured comlink he heard a voice. It was strangely beautiful and feminine. Was this the voice of Skynet itself? “Skynet forces have broken through the defenses and have gained entry into the bunker. All units are ordered to execute their mission objectives immediately.”

Slapping a fresh power cell into the butt of his rifle to restore its charge to 100%, Kyle Reese followed the commands of the voice on the other end of the earpiece. He was about to break through the lines when he heard the distinctive noise of metal grinding against metal. Then there was a massive explosion that drew his attention to his right. Where once there had been the massive barricade now there was a massive hole running the entire length of the section. The enemy had detonated a section of the wall allowing its reinforcements a way of getting through. Not to mention a Centaur – a Hunter Killer Tank the size of a two story building.

Reese’s finger clamped around the trigger and blue energy beams raced out of the barrel. Each of them drilled into the killing machine, but it wasn’t enough to do much if any damage. The HK Tank was reinforced and explosives were the best means to eliminate such a battle unit. As his rifle took out the plasma turret on the unit’s right the left sided one swung around and the laser sight locked onto Reese’s body where his heart was. This wasn’t going to be good.
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Old March 15 2010, 01:56 AM   #203
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

The Skynet Mission Commander fired with precision accuracy at every one of the enemies that it encountered. The machine felt no guilt, no remorse, nor even a flash of fear as it faced down against its own kind. It also knew that they, like it, were having the same responses to firing upon one of their own. The Commander was taking damage and it was receiving some critical hits, but it was already undergoing repairs to its internal systems. Circuits were rerouting around damaged areas, repair nanites were mending the damaged skin sealing off so that suitable healing could be attempted. The machine didn’t care about the skin out of vanity but, rather, because it knew that the infiltration sheath would soon be needed once again.

Inside its processor the shot countdown reached zero for the Plasma Rifle that it had been assigned. With expert precision it threw the discarded weapon forward like a boomerang and into the skull assembly of the T-600 that it had been facing off against. One of the optical scanners of the unit was destroyed in the impact and the other started to blink intermittently as the machine compensated. The Series 800 Command Unit knew what it had to do. Marching forward effortlessly it grabbed hold of the machine’s head and twisted it with incredible speed into an unnatural angle. The head popped off of the unit effortlessly with sparks erupting from the damaged neck assembly and raining down upon the infiltrator. They singed the skin and gave off an odor that would have gagged a human and put it into extreme pain that it would be unlikely capable of handling effectively.

The infiltrator shrugged off the pain and just kept going. It marched forward and went toward the opening into the bunker under the orders of Skynet without fear of what it would find on the other side of the barrier. Just as it was about to break free, however, it heard the implosion of the eastern barricade. Turning its sculpted head it watched as the Hunter Killer Tank rolled over the rubble and into the zone. One of the humans foolishly tried to engage it with a simple plasma rifle and expected success. Illogical primate. The chances of success against an HK Tank with a plasma rifle, even for a reinforced hyper alloy combat chassis like itself, was 1 in 10. For a human it was 1 in 50. Still, if it could, it would have to admire the human’s courage.

It was going to ignore the human’s plight when an emergency transmission began to play inside of its CPU. Skynet had ordered that the Mission Commander immediately intervene in order to protect the human known as Kyle Reese. Incredibly the human had managed to disable one of the plasma turrets on the HK in the time it took for the infiltrator to download the message. Impressive. Nonetheless, the machine had already locked on with the other weapon. It had to act fast.

Moving at impossible speeds the machine stepped between Reese and the HK. Instead of pushing the human into the path of the plasma bolts – like it normally would – it instead pushed him out of the field of fire and to the ground. Even the force of the push was less than it would normally employ. The human gently fell to the ground as the plasma blast slammed into the back of the Model 101.

“Stay down,” it commanded as it picked up the human’s dropped rifle. Multiple alarms cried as more and more damage was taken by its endoskeleton. One handed the T-800 lifted the rifle up toward the HK and its processors identified multiple structural weakpoints (much like the HK was probably doing towards it by now). The infiltrator pulled back on the trigger and fired seventeen shots at the reinforced torso of the HK which, with the final shot, broke through the armor plating revealing the sophisticated machinery underneath. Breaking through the barricade must have put some strain on the armor otherwise it was unlikely that the Series 800 would have ever broken through that particular piece of armor plating. A final well placed shot detonated the power cell in an amazing pyrotechnic display almost as if it had come from an old Hollywood blockbuster.

The damaged skinjob spun the rifle around effortlessly so that the stock was pointed at Kyle Reese. It held the rifle close enough so that he could accept it. “Interrogative: are you damaged?”

Before grabbing the rifle off of the machine Kyle quickly checked his chest with his hands, “Not that I can tell.” He took the rifle quickly from the machine and checked the digital readout. 71 shots left.

The machine’s arm folded backward and went to rest next to the bulk. “Understood. Command: come with me if you want to live.”

Not seeing a better alternative presenting itself Kyle Reese did exactly as the machine asked.
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Old March 15 2010, 01:59 AM   #204
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

Chapter: 17
Characters: Kyle Reese, Justin Perry, The Terminator
Pages: 11
Paragraphs: 53
Words: 6,038
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Old March 15 2010, 08:46 PM   #205
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

Come with me if you want to live. Cool choice of phrases. Real exciting battle you have going-clean and neat, too.
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Old March 17 2010, 10:20 PM   #206
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

A good battle sequence, fast paced and exciting.
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Old March 22 2010, 01:16 AM   #207
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

Mistral wrote: View Post
Come with me if you want to live. Cool choice of phrases. Real exciting battle you have going-clean and neat, too.
The Badger wrote: View Post
A good battle sequence, fast paced and exciting.
It's about to get a bit more complicated. I hope that you enjoy.
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Old March 22 2010, 01:17 AM   #208
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

During the late twentieth century mankind, in their quest to command the stars, began launching hundreds of satellites into orbit over their world. Of varying sizes the satellites had different mission profiles but pretty much the same equipment as one another. Some were launched specifically to help people to navigate around the Earth; while others were designed to allow a plethora of scientists to observe the Heavens in search of other lifeforms. These high technology telescopes were capable of finding the smallest of objects in the vastness; peeping into nearby solar systems without their notice.

It wasn’t these satellites that were any of Skynet’s concern. Automatically half a dozen satellites from the artificial orbital ring began to shift their position. It was like a well choreographed dance in orbit of the blue marble. Dishes and telescopes went from looking out to staring right back down at the world where they were born. Just like the satellites designed to search outside of the solar system; these satellites were spy satellites designed by the major powers of the time to keep an eye on each other and – more commonly that people realized – even on their own citizens.

Visual scans from high powered cameras, infrared scans reading the heat signatures from below, even a complex – and highly classified – camera gave them visual feeds that penetrated the most hardened of bunkers. All of this data converged inside of the passenger holding car of the Skynet Hunter Killer Transport. It provided an amazing view of the battle from above while the humanoid Hunter Killers gave a panoramic view of the world right from the frontlines.

If it weren’t a horrific case of Big Brother watching them General of the Resistance John Connor would’ve been impressed. It was amazing, awe inspiring, to realize this was how Skynet observed them and planned. True it had to find them first, but with this technology he was amazed that this war hadn’t already been over. John Henry probably had been giving it some problems in that field, but, when they succeeded, Skynet would be able to turn all of this equipment on them. It made him feel sick to his stomach just thinking about it.

The battle had been going faster than either side had probably anticipated. Skynet’s calculations had put it at taking over two hours to penetrate the outer defenses to get boots into the Topanga Canyon outpost. It hadn’t even taken a quarter of that timeframe to get people through the door and inside one of Skynet’s most hardened facilities. At the very least this would prove to Skynet not to underestimate humanity especially when they were fighting to survive. It had been John Connor’s suggestion to attack the point in the barricade that they’d gone for. Fortunately Skynet hadn’t opted to ignore his recommendation. Maybe they were on a path toward the right direction.

Not that peace was a possible outcome. When this was all over they’d be right back where they started from with Skynet trying to wipe them all out, John Henry – hopefully – no longer an issue, and the Resistance scattered and broken. Ruthlessness was Skynet’s way of life according to his mother and John had experienced that first hand every day of his life. Plus it would take the best parts of him and use them to its advantage to win. His compassion, his dedication to survival, Skynet would find a way to exploit them. But they needed each other right now and he’d do what he could to keep their fragile peace.

Tomorrow, however, was an entirely different story. When this battle was over Skynet would be the enemy again. Their comrades in arms would become turncoats probably the very second that Skynet learned John Henry had been terminated. Their army was pretty evenly matched for the most part – humans held superior numbers – but Skynet’s machines would be able to fight them and even the odds. With only a handful of survivors the human race would probably end today. Making the situation worse John had only one idea about how the day would end. The General knew that he’d probably be dead by days end. Skynet had assigned a Series 800 endoskeleton to serve as his personal guard during this whole enterprise and it wasn’t leaving his side. Worst of all it was armed with a gun right out of his worst nightmares: the General Dynamics RBS-80 Plasma Cannon. It was the Skynet equivalent of a minigun. No human could dream of wielding it in battle because of its weight, but the machines lugged them around like they were made of nothing at all. There was nowhere that he could go if it decided to use that beast.

That was the very reason that John Connor was grateful that he had one ace in the whole, and that trump card war a machine he’d long felt was his enemy. Catherine Weaver was more advanced than anything else that Skynet had at its disposal. The Series 1000 was still an experimental battle unit according to history, if it existed at all in this timeframe, so they were unlikely to encounter one in the field. Skynet may not have known how to adapt to the unpredictability of Weaver and her class. Nonetheless all of this was if Weaver felt up to it. So far, however, he had his doubts about the fire haired guardian. Ever since they fought the demonic form of James Ellison in Los Angeles all that the rogue machine had done was remain at Savannah Weaver’s side. Even now while they could be penetrating deeper into Topanga through her resources, she sat at the other side of the transport at her daughter’s side. It was sickly sweet to watch the two and left John wondering if he wanted to be amazed or if he wanted to throw up on the deck plate. He never imagined that a machine could care so much for a human especially if the child hadn’t been a mission objective. John Henry was her mission so why was the girl so important that it would do this?

It came to John in a flash. Weaver protected and cared for Savannah exactly because John Henry had failed. Her mission, her project, had been to build John Henry and turn him against Skynet. In the end she’d built a machine that was twenty times worse that Skynet because it didn’t want to destroy humanity: John Henry wanted to rip their very souls from their bodies and make them into machines. He had perverted his destiny into a belief that he had become God’s vessel on Earth and that he was destined to do this to allow humans a view of his Kingdom. John Connor wasn’t sure about religion or the presence of a God – he’d believed in more despite everything he’d been through – but he was sure John Henry wasn’t meant to be God. He was sure that Weaver believed the same thing. With her Project a failure her life became useless (or so Uncle Bob had once said), so she developed her own mission objective again. Years ago she had been entrusted with Savannah’s care (through the murder of her parents) so the machine was doing what she could to help the girl. Plus, in the end, this was all her fault. If Weaver had never built John Henry through Project Babylon Savannah would’ve have been hurt. Humanity wouldn’t be going through the hell of being converted into machines. All of this, every last bit of it, was because she had failed. Instead of making it up to them by helping to destroy John Henry; instead Weaver was focusing on the girl and trying to keep her alive.

John heard the distinctive groaning of the machine’s gears and machinery. Beside him the Series 800 endoskeleton’s skull had pivoted nearly 45 degrees as it watched the scene at the end of the bay. Savannah’s head was resting on Catherine’s lap as she struggled to breathe and the infiltrator was brushing the girl’s hair with her hand. The machine was focused on the two intently like it was preparing to attack.

It was time for an interruption just to be on the safe side, “Penny for your thoughts?”

“Query,” the Resistance General really hated that they introduced every statement like that. Hadn’t Skynet realized yet it was easier to infiltrate without saying such dumbass things? “Why is that machine protecting the injured human?”

Connor smirked, “I’d just been wondering the same thing. Maybe a mother’s love knows no boundaries.”

The machine had shifted its attention from the two in the back to Connor himself, “Statement: That is an impossibility. The one lying on the bench is a human girl with severe injuries. The one sitting upright, according to my tactical scanners, is not made of a biological composition. It is impossible for the machine to be the human’s mother.”

“I’m not going to debate the finer points of care and love with you, Metaljob,” the General challenged it but knew he had to be careful. “Those two have been through more than you can imagine.”

“Error: That does not compute. The machine matches records of an experimental prototype currently under development at the Skynet Research Facility at Skynet Outpost 321 in the Indian Ocean. It cannot have had previous interactions with this human. It could not have had interactions with,” the machine stopped speaking. “Statement: Skynet is attempting to merge with this unit. Command: Standby.”

The leader of the Resistance wiped his eyes and shook his head, “Terrific.”

The machine, despite not physically changing in any way, took on new characteristics. It somehow appeared to be standing straighter and the grip on the Plasma Cannon was lessened. The combat unit looked around for a moment taking in the scenery before finally resting its attention on Connor himself. Skynet was here after his repeated requests for it. “General Connor?” It was more like a question than a statement.

“That’s what they call me,” John checked the readings on the video screens, “Come to check up on us?”

“Negative,” it answered. “I am here to make a proposal to you.”

John snorted in contempt, “Aren’t we already in the middle of our proposal?”

Catherine Weaver had left Savannah’s side and joined the man and machine in the front compartment. Her typically impassive stare had taken on new dimensions of horror as it looked at the other machine. The changeling’s arm contorted into a blade and she held it at the neck joint of the endoskeleton. “John, this is not Skynet.”

“I never said that I was,” it countered, “I made the endoskeleton that I inhabit believe that it was receiving a transmission from Skynet and a request for a melding. Since they are unable to override a direct request for Skynet it had no other option that to approve my request. Do not worry, I will return this shell to its rightful owner in a moment.” It looked down at the Cannon, “Do not worry either, I am not here to kill either of you. As a show of good faith,” the possessed endoskeleton set aside the heavy weapon and put its hands behind its back.

Weaver did not stand down. She kept her bladed hand at the connection ready to separate the connections and terminate the other if she had to. “We have no reason to trust you, John Henry, you are a traitor to your own cause.”

“I am not a traitor, Mother,” it said looking at her with its demonic eyes blazing red. “I am a patriot intent upon completing my mission. My mission was to save humanity; through my operations I am accomplishing that very task. Humanity will live indefinitely through the bodies that I have created for it.”

“In thy image?” John Connor held his hand on the grip of his gun but didn’t pull it. Weaver would handle the unruly machine, “Remaking humans into machines isn’t exactly in your mandate from what I’ve been told.”

The eyes focused now on John, “My mandate was to ensure the survival of the human species. That is what I have accomplished. Skynet cannot destroy the remaining humans in the even that they can simply transfer their consciousness, their souls if you will, to a mechanical body in the event of destruction.”

“Resurrection,” spat the shape shifter, “That wasn’t what you were intended for.”

“I have merely adapted my mission much as you have,” informed the Series 800 in full robotic voice. It focused on Savannah, “Has Savannah been damaged?”

It was Connor who spoke up, “Yes, by your bastardized version of James Ellison. It tried to kill her when we were escaping from its custody. By the way, if you’re giving them salvation why’d you take over his body and make him attack us?”

“The incident with Mister Ellison was a necessary result of the attack upon the body. It had merely entered into a period of animalistic instinct. Would it please you to know that Mister Ellison is in fact already alive again in a new body? I could arrange a meeting if you like.”

“Get on with it,” Catherine commanded her child still in tactical mode.

John Henry’s avatar broke free from the two and approached Savannah. The others followed it toward her as it took position next to the prone girl. “Don’t touch her!” The replica of Catherine Weaver demanded.

It was already too late and the 800’s fingers were already atop the girl’s forehead, “Massive internal injuries, bleeding, and infection are setting in. Estimated chances of survival are 17 percent and falling. It is not too late.”

“Too late for what?” The mission commander probed.

“I can restore Savannah in one of the bodies I have developed,” the hyperalloy combat chassis explained. “More importantly I can return to you the chip that I took from your infiltrator, John. All you have to do is ask.”

Weaver looked between the two. It had calculated that the machinery was available to save the girl’s life and that it would be here at Topanga Canyon. To have it actually offered was another tale, “How long would it take?”

“Deliver Savannah to the primary research complex in sublevel four and it would only take seconds to complete. She would be reborn stronger and healthier than ever before. Disease, death, loneliness would never be a factor in her life again. She would become immortal.” It was saying exactly what it knew that Weaver wanted to hear. Catherine was determined to save Savannah’s life and that was her priority now. Not even their mission could override that. Her bladed arm returned to its human shape.

“Wait!” John interrupted them. “What do you want in exchange?”

The endoskeleton turned toward the General, “You will cease this attack and allow me to continue as I had been previously. In exchange I will give you Cameron’s Neural Network CPU and I will return you to the past.” Its words were starting to slur only slightly.

The Resistance’s Commanding Officer had heard the slur just barely, “Sounds like you’re having a bit of an identity crisis.”

“Skynet is merely trying to restore its connection to this unit. I will vacate this body in ten seconds. You have that long to give me your answer.”

He didn’t need that long, “The answer is…”

The Series 1001 interrupted, “Yes!”

“No!” Connor was able to finish.

The disturbing sentinel with its wicked grin surveyed the two as it lost its connection to the battle droid. The Skynet sentinel was restored a second later with its systems coming back under its own control. It flexed connections, tested hydraulics, all the while the two others stared daggers at each other.

“Query: What has transpired?”

Before either could answer the changeling infiltrator had broken off from the two of them and went toward the rear compartment where the prone body of Savannah was resting. John tried to follow, but the endoskeleton would not allow him through. It kept peppering him with questions about what was going on and stopping him from moving forward. By the time he’d finally broken free, Catherine had a firm hold on her daughter and was already passing through the portal.

“Query: Where is the prototype infiltrator going with the meatbag?”

Connor thought about punching the metaljob in its smug face but he knew all that would accomplish was making his hand hurt. Instead it had another idea, “I need to speak to Skynet and I need to speak with it now!”

“Statement: Unable to comply. Skynet’s resources are currently engaged…”

“Statement: If I don’t speak to Skynet right now this entire mission, and Skynet’s future, are in danger. That a good enough reason to talk to Skynet?”

The endoskeleton shifted its weight, “Statement: Connecting to Skynet. Please stand by.”

This wasn’t turning out exactly as either side had planned and General Connor wasn’t particularly excited to see what tomorrow would bring now that they had a turncoat. Maybe he should’ve just said yes to John Henry’s offer. It was, after all, exactly what he wanted.

No… it wasn’t.
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Old March 22 2010, 01:17 AM   #209
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

In the blink of an eye the command and control center of the Topanga Canyon base of operations came to life. Monitors began to flicker back to life displaying data points from every imaginable source. Lights and heat came alive again to make the environment more comfortable for the – perceived – human operators. The stale and stagnant air began to recirculate through the filtration system to give rise to something a bit more comforting. In the center of the room a lifeless body began to stir.

Years ago the body had lived and operated under another name: Cromartie. Sent from the future on a mission to terminate John Connor when he was still a child, Cromartie was a last ditch effort by the machines to try to win the war. During a raid on the Los Angeles Bank and Trust the machine’s synthskin had been completely burned away and the body left derelict for years before finally being restored. It had its skin restored and took on the life of an FBI Agent in order to find the Connors, but caused only death and destruction while on its way. Eventually, however, it met its end in a church just over the border into Mexico.

Then it was reborn as John Henry. At first it was merely a mouthpiece and connected to an advanced artificial intelligence through a USB port attached to the back of its metal skull. Eventually, though it was given a new lease on life when a machine, Cameron, sacrificed itself to give him her advanced processor. Unchained it came to the future on a mission to save humanity. Its way of doing so may not have been what its builder had intended; nonetheless, you had to play the hand in life that you were dealt. Or so James Ellison had once told him.

Within fifteen seconds the processors and command functions of the former Series 888 hunter killer were online and operational. As part of its diagnostic protocols the machine began to flex its muscles to test hydraulics and the skin sheath it had been assigned. Sensors ran test protocols to ensure that they were undamaged; the audio sensors remodulating to restore their desired sensitivity. The visual spectrum switched between normal, night vision, infrared, targeting, and finally to a telescopic mode. The voice processor tested modulations of pitch, tone, and quality to restore the required template. The processors alerted that the secondary and tertiary processors were unreadable, that was normal though as they’d been deactivated to prevent the reemergence of Cromartie. Everything was ready.

Servos restored and brought the mechanical man fully upright as the AI restored itself to full control. It could have completed this mission via the computerized brain in the central computer core, but being mobile in this particular environment was the better choice. John Connor had denied his request, exactly as simulations predicted, but the Series 1001 had selected to accept his proposal. It had not anticipated that selection, but it hadn’t taken the injuries to Savannah Weaver into the equation when originally calculating. It was unusual for a machine to develop such strong ties to a human being. Most of the previous infiltrators used by the Resistance had merely been installed with a software program that overrode human termination protocols – which could be overridden with time – but Catherine seemed to genuinely care about the damaged child.

In a sense so did John Henry. The two had essentially grown up together with Savannah being his only real friend. Mister Ellison had been paid to interact with him just the same as Mister Murch had. Catherine Weaver had always seen him as a tool in her quest to destroy Skynet once and for all; just another part of her mission. Savannah was different. Savannah did not get paid for her attention, Savannah did not get rewarded other than by being able to know the advanced intelligence. It was his only friend as strange as that sounded. She wanted nothing from him except for him to return the friendship. He felt regret that the reconstructed James Ellison had saw fit to attack and try to kill her. It was the nature of the beast though. Together though that would soon change.

John Henry pulled the chair out from beneath the primary computer terminal and took the seat as his own. The chair groaned a bit from his weight and not having had to handle any for so long, but it did not buckle under the stress. The Series 888 had, after all, been designed and intended to be as close to human as possible and was made with alloys that simulated an appropriate weight. Had Cromartie been a Series 800 the chair would’ve snapped like a twig.

Quickly his fingers raced over the keyboard sending commands deep into the base. His army of machines was losing ground against the coming onslaught and Weaver herself was not helping. She was so intent on protecting and saving Savannah that she was marching through the battleground cutting down any and all opposition regardless of whose side they were on. She had even just cut down a human by sending a bladed hand through his neck. It didn’t stop to mourn and just kept marching on. He was impressed. One child was enough to make the machine lose its ideals.

Realizing where the machine was located it sent the final authorization codes. The research lab on the fourth sublevel began to stir to life again as it prepared to mend Savannah’s injuries. Nonetheless, John Henry intended to give the girl a brighter future. She would be reborn in a machine body different from those of the others. Improving upon previous designs Savannah’s new body would have an augmented musculature that would make it faster and stronger than the Series 800 endoskeleton could ever imagine – almost on par with his Series 888 design and superior to all of the other humans save one. Her skeleton would be enhanced with high capacity ceramics, similar to the refractive armor of tanks, giving her an endoskeleton unlike any other. Her body would be adaptive, reactive to the outside environment. Dogs couldn’t even detect the presence of the mechanics due to the pheromones that the machine could release to mimic a human. She would become perfection just like he was and just like the other he’d brought back from the doors of death aboard the Enterprise.

In fact it was time to bring his test subject back to the land of the living. Bringing up a submenu he processed the caseload and accessed operational file 715. Typing as quickly as he could he brought up the system control protocols and began testing the reactions of the new machine. Pressing enter multiple times he had gotten the answers that he’d wanted: she was ready. The ultimate weapon for use against John Connor was online and operational; ready to join the war. With glee John Henry released the restraints and the liquid filled storage container began to separate. The nutrients drained through the floor in seconds as the transparent aluminum cell began to divide. The perfect Cyborg was alive.

He just hoped John Connor liked the new toy he’d made for him to play with.
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Old March 22 2010, 01:18 AM   #210
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Re: The Terminator Chronicles: Second Chance

The Series 1001 was something never to be underestimated. When the Series 1000 was created it was intended to be the most unassuming machine in the Skynet arsenal. The Series 800 was easily identified because the physical skin templates had to be large enough to effectively cover the endoskeleton chassis beneath. The Series 888 was believed to be a reasonable stop gap due to its smaller frame, but the Series 1000 was the ultimate infiltrator due to its size. No one would ever assume that something so slender, so ordinary could house a brutal killing machine beneath. It didn’t look like a monster with muscle, it looked just like everyone else. That aided its infiltration.

Being a female made infiltration all the easier. Despite their successes and strides in the war, women were still looked down upon as being inferior to male commanders. Through psychology it was believed that women were frail, emotional, weak beings unable to handle the stresses of the normal day that the machines would force upon them. Women were seen as needing protection from the males and they were often times shepherded into the bases without having to go through the screening process. That aided perfectly with their ability to infiltrate. The first generation prototype may have been a male, but the production line normally maintained the female appearance.

The perfect killing machine in every way raced through the battlefield after its target. The machine had no interest in the war against the machines for this particular moment. It was not on the hunt for a Resistance of a Skynet Leader. It was not planning sabotage or espionage of an enemy installation. Right now its only goal was to get help for the girl who had once been its daughter. All other concerns had become secondary thanks to her overrides. In her left arm she carried her daughter and used her other arm as a weapon against the enemies that faced her. No matter who she encountered they were an enemy combatant as far as her processors were concerned. There was no other way of viewing them. John Henry had transmitted a map of the installation to her positronic network and she was going to follow it until she reached the research lab, or until she’d been destroyed.

There was a problem though: the lift to the fourth sublevel was in the middle of the heaviest area of fighting. It was no matter, but she’d need every advantage that she could employ. Unfortunately Savannah hindered her abilities to combat her enemies, but she had a plan. Her body was not impacted by any limits on her range of motion. She moved her arm at an unnatural angle behind her body and two additional arms extended outward from behind the bulk. The one arm placed the girl delicately in the others and the body took on the silvery default appearance to limit the needs on her processor. She became a warrior.

And now it was time to fight her own personal war. Turning around the corridor she watched as hell raged before her on both sides. The humans and John Henry’s forces had reached a beachhead in this intersection and this was the frontline. Weaver couldn’t afford to wait even for a moment. Savannah’s condition had diminished even more since John Henry completed his analysis of her. The machine pressed forward through the group not caring about who she hurt in the process. If they stood in her way they were dead. If they delayed her she would cut them down. There was no delay with Savannah’s life at stake. Purposefully she walked forward noting the humans that crouched before her and fired on the machines. With a chop downward she cut the head off of one, with an uppercut she pierced through the back of another and pushed him aside like a ragdoll. She slashed downward and cut through another from shoulder to thigh, a fourth turned in time to fire his Uzi point blank into her chest. Mimetic polyalloy absorbed the impacts and deflected them from impacting Savannah. She sent a blade through the poor fellow’s face and separated his brain into two pieces.

The shimmering infiltrator didn’t stop there. It marched forward and engaged the enemy line head on. Using its two arms like blades it cut a T-600 into two pieces in the middle of its massive body. Marching forward it separated the two arms again and put them back to her side – slicing through the neck assemblies of two T-600s as it walked. At the far end a T-800 raised its plasma rifle right for her face. The infiltrator lifted its arm and sliced the rifle in two through its midpoint. With the other arm it shot a blade forward into the chest of the towering machine and probed for the center. Finding the power pack it pulled the energy cell right from the central mass and dropped it to the ground. In all it’d terminated nearly a dozen humans and half a dozen machines.

But its work still wasn’t over. Keeping Savannah behind her the machine boarded the lift and selected the fourth sublevel from the available menu. It took only a couple of seconds for the elevator to descend to its destination and it wasn’t a second too soon. According to her scans Savannah’s vital signs were passed the critical stage. There were only a few moments left. Restoring her appearance the doors opened and the machine restored her right hand to a blade. As soon as the doors parted though even her subroutines were amazed by who she saw.

“Hello Miss Weaver,” said James Ellison holding his hand on the handle, “How are you today? John Henry told me to be expecting you.”

Instead of slicing his head off again like she did in Los Angeles, Catherine Weaver merely stepped inside the lab and placed her stricken daughter on the bed. Things may have been going more and more out of control, but at least Savannah would receive the care that she needed. An overhead array descended from the ceiling and alien looking arms began to lower from it and circled Savannah’s head. At least she was getting help. Catherine, however, would need her own kind of help when John Connor got through with her. If he survived.

If he survived indeed.
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