Terminator: Survival Instinct

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by nx1701g, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. nx1701g

    nx1701g Admiral Admiral

    Jun 26, 2001
    2001 - 2016
    Life had been filled with trials and tribulations for Lauren Fields ever since she had been a kid. It was clear to her at an early age that her parents only were together because of her – her mother getting pregnant before her parents ever married. Her dad was a workaholic who was married to and nurtured his work better than he ever raised her. Her mother’s days consisted of watching TV, shopping, and doing the next door neighbor. They hated each other more than loved one another and that never changed.

    That was until Sarah Connor came into their lives. One day she just appeared at their doorstep brandishing a shotgun telling them that they had to get out of there – that a machine was coming to kill them. Of course no one believed Sarah or Cameron until they came face to face with a machine wearing a human face. Lauren was stronger than either of her parents during it and helped Sarah rather than quibble over semantics with her parents or her mother’s boyfriend. In a show of courage she couldn’t believe her dad tried to fight the machine despite Sarah’s objections that he was the target. It just let him go.

    That was when she learned about her little sister. The Connors got her and her family to a safe house and they lived off the grid. Lauren didn’t have any trouble with it, but her mother did. After a while she began to crack under the pressure and called her boyfriend. She didn’t know though what that meant. It started again. The machine came for them again. Her father was killed trying to protect them from it and her mother was seriously injured. Without option she called Sarah Connor.

    She met not with Sarah but instead a guy named Derek. Together they delivered her little sister – Sydney – and Derek even offered to let her stay with him and the Connors. When he snuck off to make a call though Lauren knew what had to be done. She slid off her St. Christopher’s Medal and placed it on her mother’s chest. Grabbing her sister she ran. While learning from the Connors first hand would have prepared her for the storm deep down Lauren knew that she would have even more of a target on her chest than that medal. Besides they needed as many troops as they could get and she had some ideas. With her sister she fled to Mexico to train.

    It wasn’t easy. She picked up military techniques from a crazy ex Green Beret who had serious shell shock in Baja. There she learned about weapons, explosives, anything and everything that she could use against Skynet. While the machine wasn’t chasing her anymore – she assumed that Sarah had killed it – Lauren couldn’t take that chance. Sydney had to be protected. They sent a machine into the past to kill her so that had to mean that she was important. It was Lauren’s job to protect her.

    Around 2011 she ended up in Argentina and was living in the town of La Plata. Trading what she could she was able to take up residence with a young Doctor in the city and started to read his medical books while he was off at work. Sydney was doing well considering the circumstances but didn’t understand why other kids had a mommy and a daddy and she had a Lauren. Despite everything she couldn’t bring herself to tell her little sister about it yet. All it would do was screw the girl up in the head to know that machines would take over soon. Then April came.

    It was a pretty routine day for her. She was preparing dinner when she saw the news cut over to a live, breaking news feed. The screen was fuzzy because of some global supervirus that hit the telecommunications network. Lauren had thought it to be an isolated incident but this confirmed her worst fears. The United States and the United Kingdom had declared war on Russia and China. Nuclear warheads were fired in first strikes at key locations inside both of those nations. The retaliation didn’t take long – but it expanded. France, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel all fired their missiles laying waste to the world. Over three billion people were dead. Dinner had to wait.

    She and her boyfriend – as well as Sydney – made their way to Buenos Aires to join one of the emergency teams to go into the warzone to help the sick and injured civilians. When they were preparing she saw something that she never expected: a United States submarine emerged from the waters into the port requesting help. The leaders of the nation just asked them to leave. It showed her just how much the world had changed. Everything was different now, everything had changed.

    She needed to act. Sneaking away thanks to her training she was able to break through the barricades and military checkpoints. As she ran to the sub though she heard them yelling for her. Members of the Argentine military chased her onto the dock as she ran with Sydney in one hand. She had to keep ahead of them; she had to get to the ship. At the top of her lungs she yelled that she was an American citizen and that she was requesting their help. One of the SEAL assigned to the ship heard her. Two gunshots cut through the air and the heads of the pursuing soldiers turned to pulp. With the support of the squad they brought her aboard.

    It was very cramped aboard the submarine. They took her to a small conference room and Sydney was taken to the medical station for a checkup. After about fifteen minutes the Captain came in and took the seat opposite her. He was an Asian American by the name of Thaddeus Chu and he looked like the weight of the world was on his shoulders. There was no time for pretense; Lauren told him the story of her life. Normally such a story would land someone in a psychiatrist’s office. Fields was in luck. The Captain told her another tale one that chilled her just as much as that cold night in 2008 when the future became very real. The Roosevelt was the only part of the United States military still left from what he knew. The rest of navy had been converted into automated warships with cybernetic brains designed as part of some clandestine project. They heard from the waters through Morse code from those souls dying in the waters that the ships had turned against them. Skynet had issued orders to hunt them but they evaded. Now they were trapped in a world where some unknown force wanted them dead.

    The Roosevelt had become a member of the human resistance not long after. Sydney grew up inside the protected confines as Lauren took up a position aboard as a nurse to the ship’s corpsman. They fought Skynet every so often and the SEAL team helped with training, but most of the time they lived in relative peace. As Sydney grew older though it became clear to the Acting Lieutenant that the two of them needed to be on the ground when Sydney’s destiny came to call instead of aboard the Roosevelt. After a transfer to the Resistance army she was assigned to the Resistance base in Los Angeles. That was how she came here today.

    Together with Captain Catherine Luna they walked among the ruined remnants of Earth trying to get to the nearest Resistance outpost. They’d managed to escape from the hell of the Aircraft Carrier Enterprise together, but they lost two of their team including their good friend and CO Allison Young in the process. Technically Luna was in command now and the medic was just a medic, but something had changed. Luna wasn’t her typical self. Who could be? They had all been tortured in their captivity aboard the Skynet base. The hells seen by the Major or Private Wise were unknowns in this reality, but Lauren could only imagine what they did to her. After all Luna’s husband was a machine. As for her own torture: Skynet had learned about pleasure and pain all to well.

    They’d been walking for what seemed like forever trying to get to a base that could very likely not be there anymore. The machine supercomputer launched new attacks daily and most of the last settlements of humanity were gone. Both the Captain and Medic were tired, hungry, and very thirsty. They were trying to stay hidden during the day and move in the night like Connor had taught them, but that was easier said than done. Skynet was everywhere and time wasn’t exactly a strong variable anymore in making decisions.

    “Who would have thought it could get this hot so fast?” Captain Luna asked as her Spanish accent colored some of the words.

    Fields walked along behind her keeping an eye on their flank. Skynet liked to have its tripeights come up from behind in sneak attacks lately. It didn’t matter much though if tin cans showed it. It wasn’t like they had any weapons to use against them. Taking her eyes off the rear flank for only a second she caught eye contact with Catherine.

    “I thought you were from Baja? You’ve seen it hotter than this.”

    “Got me there,” answered Luna as they made their way over the ridge, “but back then I was at my prime.”

    Fields smiled, “Passed your prime? You’re not that old.”

    “You’re only as old as you feel,” Luna stopped. “And right now I feel like I’m eighty.”

    “And you move like it too,” taunted the medic. “Move your ass, Granny.”

    Catherine shook her head, “At least its still a pretty one. Any idea how much further?”

    “I wish I knew,” Lauren said looking at the horizon and staring. “It can’t be that much further. I’m kinda surprised we haven’t run into any patrols.”

    “Watch your tongue,” Captain Luna said with playfulness. “You don’t want to tempt the Gods. I was thinking the same thing though. Strange we haven’t run into anyone including our own.”

    Lauren nodded to that, “I can’t argue there. We should have patrols out or something. You don’t think that we’ve pulled out of the area do you?” She was a little worried about her sister.

    “I suppose anything’s possible.” A large black bird flew passed her face and crashed downward among the broken remnants of yesterday. It started pecking at something among the remains.

    “Good to see someone’s got some food.”

    Medic Fields shrugged, “Waste not, want not. We have to go check it out. We don’t know what we could find over there.”

    “Yeah,” mocked Luna, “we haven’t got shot at lately.”

    “Fifty/fifty chance we’re going to find something good or bad. Fifty/fifty chance that whatever it is is with us or against us.” Lauren started after the bird.

    Luna started to chase her, “You’re a fool you know.”

    “Who’s more foolish: the fool or the fool who follows her?”

    Rather than ponder it the pair kept on course for the bird. It jumped into the sky and flew away before either of them could catch it but it left behind a body lying on the ground. The eyes were pecked out and made into a bloody pulp. That wasn’t the most horrifying thing. On the chest where the heart once rested was now only a gaping hole of dripping coagulated blood. The name tags were still there.

    “He was one of ours,” said Fields.

    Luna started searching the remains, “We’ll mourn his loss later. Right now we need to see if he had anything of use.” They couldn’t find any weapons or equipment, but they did find some rations and water packs. The two women feasted on the crumbs and drank the last drips of water from the pack. They were about to get on the road when it came. The familiar whine of a jet thruster going subsonic ripped through their eardrums. Above them hovered the very sight of evil. A Skynet HK Aerial had found them.

    “Karma,” Fields mumbled.

    “Screw karma,” Luna grabbed the medic. “Run!”

    The two Resistance soldiers took off as fast as their tired legs would let them. The uneven terrain was like trying to navigate through a tar pit or quick sand and neither could keep up the pace. The machine just hovered there watching and waiting for them. It didn’t strike or try to harm them. It was just watching.

    Aerial HK 3927 hovered above the remains of Los Angeles watching the two as they tried to flee. It always amazed the processors of the machine how just its appearance could cause the humans to take to running away. They didn’t know its state of mind so how could they know rather they were at risk or not? Humans were a peculiar bunch. They continued to fight when they knew that the war was over and that they had lost. How strange they were.

    Sensor scans were quite revealing. Through the multiple sensor palettes built into the outer hull of the machine it knew an incredibly detailed amount of information about the two runners. Both were female and in exceptional physical health despite the environmental factors. They were suffering from dehydration and overexertion, but their adrenaline production was at critical levels. The women split up trying to escape. The processors of the machine understood all to well. A spark of it though almost pitied them. It sent a message to Skynet asking to be allowed to put them out of their misery.

    Skynet had other plans. Rather than terminate the Hunter Killer’s leader gave it a new directive. It was to toy with them.

    Catherine Luna dove behind an unnatural formation of plaster and concrete rubble left behind from the days of future’s past. It was as hot as fire but she leaned against it pushing herself as tightly as she could to make her body as small as possible. If she could compact herself maybe the HK would just pass her by and not see her. It was a long shot but the fact she was even still alive after all this time was against all odds anyway. It would be somewhat ironic if Skynet managed to do her in with one of the HKs. Back in the day when she was a prisoner it was her job to help build them, it seemed fitting somehow that one of them would kill her. Though this one was different from the primitive that she had worked on – it was scarier.

    That could be the fear talking. Fear could make anything seem like an impassable obstacle. Bugs, water, anything and everything could be made to look like it was the size of a titan if you were afraid of it. With this thing hovering out there her fear was winning out. Then came a faint whisper of air. Thousands of scenarios came to mind. What was going on with it? Why wasn’t it blowing her to bits? Was it releasing endoskeletons to take her captive? Was it landing? Any number of possibilities could give the answer, but she’d never know unless she pushed herself to look.

    Grabbing a long metal beam to use as a weapon she moved her legs beneath her. The Captain pushed herself upward and her eyes around the rim of the broken plaster. Right on the opposite side was something she didn’t expect, something that she had never even actually seen before. It was roughly the size of a basketball and had an open middle that looked like a fan. A single red sensor node was in the center and it was focused on her. It didn’t look so tough. It was actually kind of cute. A small compartment on the ventral of the droid slid open drawing her attention. The fear started to rise again inside her gut. From the partition the sound of moving servomotors interrupted the whisper quiet turbine. A large blaster appeared from the opening and focused on her.

    A shot filled her ears.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2009
  2. mirandafave

    mirandafave Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 26, 2008
    just to let you know that I haven't gotten to this story as I discovered it late. So currently reading my through the first story. So far liking it, the world building, the mystery and myth building. I'll post more when I get it read. Then I start on this story.
  3. nx1701g

    nx1701g Admiral Admiral

    Jun 26, 2001
    2001 - 2016
    ^ If it's easier for you you can PM me your email and I'll email you the completed first story (75 pages) and what is available of Survival Instinct (38 pages as of last night) as a RTF document.
  4. nx1701g

    nx1701g Admiral Admiral

    Jun 26, 2001
    2001 - 2016
    The next update will come tomorrow night.
  5. nx1701g

    nx1701g Admiral Admiral

    Jun 26, 2001
    2001 - 2016
    I just wanted to say thank you for your comments as well.
  6. nx1701g

    nx1701g Admiral Admiral

    Jun 26, 2001
    2001 - 2016
    Earl Wise ran a rag over his head to gather up the sweat that he’d lost during his long trek to Avila Beach. The Four Horsemen and their former commander Derek Reese had been ordered to escort General Perry to Serrano Point so that he could establish command of Resistance operations there. Earl didn’t like playing little more than guardian but orders were orders and he had to obey them.

    As he marched along he couldn’t believe he’d admitted that to himself. Earl Wise wasn’t exactly what you’d call a team player. Rules, procedures, regulations, all of that meant next to nothing to him. He was a loose cannon, a renegade who didn’t like being told what to do and sure as hell didn’t like having to be responsible for anyone but himself. He and his community had tried to survive together during this combat and they all learned that the only people you could count on in the world was yourself. That was his mantra.

    Now he was in a world very different from the one he grew up in. The lone wolf had become a member of the Resistance community and one of their soldiers. First he was little more than a pissant who was fighting under a leader who he really didn’t trust all that much and thought was weak and only had her position because she was screwing the boss. Much to his enchantment (and disillusionment) he was right. He was captured and nearly killed by Skynet during what should have been a routine mission. Then he was paired with a replica of her – a machine wearing her face – and asked to protect the Resistance. There he learned of the time displacement technology and, more important, helped save John Connor from the machine with Allison’s face. Because of both of those dynamics he was promoted and made leader of the Four Horsemen.

    As they tiptoed around the devastated remains of Los Angeles and through the boneyards Wise kept thinking about his team. They were a good group of men – strong and capable fighters – but there was something off about this. There was an obvious power struggle going on. By order Earl was commander of the Horsemen, by history Derek Reese was their leader. Reese, nonetheless, didn’t seem too sure. Earl recognized the look on the man’s face. It was the look of a man who’d seen the unthinkable. Derek was one of the few to know of the temporal equipment. What should have bonded them together only served to draw a bigger wedge between them.

    Earl wasn’t stupid and did pay attention to what was going on around him. As the son of a scientist who watched animals in Death Valley he’d learned a long time ago how to sneak around and observe the environment. He’d heard Sumner and Sayles talking while they thought him still in his cabin before they rolled out this morning. Other than talking about their rogue machine they were discussing a mission that Derek was planning with Connor’s blessing. Connor wanted them to go through that transporter back into the time before all of this happened – before judgment day ever occurred. Their mission was to try to stop this from ever happening and Derek wanted the Horsemen to go with him.

    The problem was that the Horsemen weren’t his anymore to do with as he pleased. In all honesty Earl Wise wouldn’t have had a problem with it and returning to his lone wolf ways; nevertheless, he would have wanted to at least be consulted about it. What was hardest though was that Derek hadn’t asked him to go along for the ride with the others. While he would have probably said no because of the risks – he really didn’t want to go on some damned fantastic voyage through time if it even worked – it still was hard to be slighted.

    Through the broken city and the overgrown brush they’d kept mostly quiet trying to avoid any Skynet entanglements. It was nothing for the machines to hide among the rubble and just randomly erupt from the wreckage like a monster coming from the shadows. They’d seen a Centurion Tank on a street guarding the remnants of a building but General Perry ordered them not to engage. A couple of HK VTOLs were flying around making a nuisance of themselves but none had attacked them or come close enough. There weren’t any endos running around so that was at least one welcome treat. Sayles – one of the most impulsive men he’d ever met aside from himself – wanted to take on the tin cans they came across Perry was a very high profile target because of his position and the less metal they ran into the better of they’d all be.

    As they finally left the city Earl spotted something that he didn’t expect laying on the ground: the burnt out remains of an endoskeleton. Skynet usually recovered their broken weapons for recycling into new weapons of war and it was just something you didn’t see everyday laying around. Derek and the other horsemen decided to use it as a latrine but Earl was fascinated by the broken machine. General Perry was in a similar mindset and asked a couple of questions to no one in particular about their opinions as they set up camp for the night. Earl was trapped in his own thoughts.

    But they weren’t about this machine, rather another. In the far recesses of Wise’s mind the rogue machine – Joshua as they called him – was all that he could think of. The skinjob and he had been training in the gym only hours before it went homicidal and decided to use good men, women, and children for target practice. Every aspect of their wrestling match went through his head; every second and every thought that he had. The other machine, Cameron, said that it was perfectly natural at times for them to go bad again but Earl couldn’t shake the feeling he was somehow responsible during the match. Had his direct hit against Joshua’s head done more damage than he’d thought? It had to be impossible. Earl was only a human and Joshua was a Triple Eight designed for extreme combat. A little bump on the noggin couldn’t have made him go nuts. It just couldn’t.

    “… hey!” Derek Reese’s voice pulled him out of his reverie. “What the hell you thinking about other than the job?”

    If it had been only a few days ago regardless of rank Earl would have slammed his fist into the Lieutenant’s nose. Nowadays Earl was the ranking officer by two steps against the Lieutenant. Still he had to fight to keep his clenched fist at his side. “I was thinking about how horrible it’s going to be to have to wake up to your ugly face during our trip.”

    “Some’d love to wake up looking at my face,” taunted Reese as he looked at the broken machine. “Power sander junior here isn’t one of them. If it makes you feel any better I’d rather not have to wake up looking at you either.”

    “At least we can agree on something,” The Captain realized that he’d been staring at this thing for over an hour. The others were off sleeping already waiting for their early morning summons to get moving again. He bent close to the derelict machine and watched it like a teacher critiquing a pupil. “Funny isn’t it?”

    “What is?” Reese crossed his arms and looked down at him.

    Earl rested his hand on the forehead of the machine next to the chip port, “These machines and us are both fighting for the same thing: survival. The only bad thing is that their numbers are growing and ours are diminishing. Connor’s having them reworked in our own image saying that this is the best for all of us.”

    “Connor doesn’t know everything,” interjected Reese out of earshot of the others. “People need to realize that.”

    “I think a lot of people are learning that,” added Wise. “But he’s our leader, he’s the general, he’s the one destined to save us from all of this. What’re we being saved for? We have a planet that’s radioactive and we probably won’t be able to live on even if we do when. Our numbers are so diminished that the chances of regrowth are in the barest levels. Its all because of these damned things, and our own shortsightedness.”

    Reese made an important point, “I’d die for John Connor, though, and so would you. Connor may not have all the answers but none of us do. We’re fighting every day to survive, but he’s fought those things far longer than any of us have. People may be losing their faith in him, but he’s proven time and again that he’s been born to fight in this war and will lead us to victory. There have been people though who’ve turned against Connor,” he remembered Alexander Stone, Gabriel, William, and most recently his friend Corporal Decker, “be he still has his head in the game. And it’s not a case of if we win but when we win.”

    “I think it may eventually come down to us all dying for Connor,” Captain Wise admitted to Reese and the world. “Skynet’s not as stupid as we think it is. It’s getting smarter, stronger, and it’s getting tougher for us to take down.” His eyes found their way to the skeletal buildings on the horizon that lay cloaked in darkness. “And all we can see are the mistakes of our past glaring back at us like the fixed smile of the tin cans. I don’t know about you but its getting harder and harder to wake up in the morning to this world of ours.”

    There was something buried deep beneath the snow that was Derek Reese. Inside himself there was a pain and struggle. He sat down next to him – making sure not to sit in the part used as a men’s room – and remained silent for a long moment. He was introspective, “We’ve all been there. All of us have had those minutes where we’ve looked down at our guns and wondered if it was really all worth it anymore. It’s the machines. Wherever they go, wherever they are, they carry death with them. There’s not escaping it, there’s no denying it. Whether they’re the endos or the skinjobs they do strange things to us. The make us question ourselves, our friends, and make us wonder if there’s anything left for us to fight for. We can change all of it though, soon, we can fix all the mistakes of the past.”

    Earl knew what he was talking about. He spoke in a near whisper, “The temporal displacement equipment.”

    Derek didn’t hide his surprise very well. The Lieutenant came in close and spoke in whispers, “How’d you know? Connor said…”

    “I watched one of the machines use it to go back in time,” he could still remember seeing Cromartie step onto the platform in Kansas Bunker and disappear into a cloud of electricity. It was seared into his brain forever, “Me and Alli… I mean the machine Cameron. Do you believe any of it?” It was a hard question to ask especially since Derek tensed at the name Cameron. “I’ve always thought that time travel was impossible. How do we stop something in the past when it isn’t even possible to do it?” Earl was looking at nothing in particular. “Do you really believe it?”

    Derek wasn’t sure himself, “I’ve lived the last sixteen years of my life in a world where intelligent machines are killing people. I learned a long time ago to believe in the impossible. We all have.”

    “We can barely stop them here,” it was a fact. “How can we be expected to beat them in places where we have stone knives and bearskins as our only defense? Guns that can be barely called that? Could you imagine that thing,” he pointed to the destroyed Series 700, “up against a musket? Even a pistol from the twentieth century – impossible, all of it’s impossible.”

    “We’d find a way,” answered Derek, “We always do. We have to so that we can win this war.” For the first time he’d known him the Lieutenant had a smile. It wasn’t something that he was known for. “So how do you like my old job?”

    Captain Wise let out a breath that was half a laugh, “Same as I liked my old one. I have to deal with a bunch of whiney people when I’d rather be out on my own. I get shot at on a daily basis. The pay sucks…”

    “I can understand,” said Lieutenant Reese, “I preferred to be alone at times. It’s easier to think, easier to fight when you’re alone. And the pay does suck because you’re not getting paid.”

    They both laughed at that but Derek started to look a bit uncomfortable. He stared at the silvery metal of the Series 700 and shifted around on his seat made of rock. It was hard for him to talk about it but the words formed slowly and had to come out, “Connor wants me to go back there. Back before all this,” he moved his hand highlighting the burnt out carcass of Los Angeles as the weight of it all dawned on him. “I’m supposed to go there and wait for something that he won’t tell me just yet; back in a time when I was just a kid playing on my baseball team. It’s hard to imagine that he chose me for such an important mission.”

    “He made a good choice,” Earl was now looking right at Reese. “If anyone can take out a machine with stone knives and bearskins it’s a Reese. You and your brother are the best that we have in this war. Even the rogues, ghosts, hell the people like I used to be, we’ve heard of you two. I think all of us have. Derek and Kyle Reese are legends – heroes of the resistance.”

    It wasn’t hard to see Derek’s pain when it came to Kyle Reese. His brother went missing during the Resistance’s assault on Topanga Canyon and the Skynet outpost there. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened to him. The machines got him during the fight, but no one would say anything about it. For what it was worth the older brother hid his pain about his missing younger sibling pretty well.

    “Yeah,” he snorted, “me and my brother – the living legends of the Resistance the way most people tell it: Derek who eats metal for breakfast and Kyle who carried John Connor on his back through ten Skynet slaughterhouses. You know when all of this happened – back on Judgment Day – Kyle and I were playing baseball in our front yard like two kids should. Kyle was better at pitching but I made him bat because he needed the practice. He had one hell of an arm after all. He got a pretty good hit in right as the missiles flew overhead. He thought they were fireworks of congratulations for hitting the ball but I knew better. I grabbed him and took him to the tunnels below the city. It was the last time I can remember being happy. Guess I’ll only have the memories from now on to remember him by. I still expect to run into him on the battlefield somewhere like I did when I found him after he escaped Century with Connor.”

    “You’ll see him again,” Wise was reassuring. He remembered his father in the burnt out remnants of their home and – like Reese – tried to hide his pain, “We’ll all see them again. We have to remember that. This hell is temporary.”

    Reese went introspective, “If you believe those kinds of things: Heaven and hell, the afterlife, all the stories of religions throughout the ages.”

    “If you believe,” the Captain and Derek’s replacement let out a long breath confirming. “I know them to be true. You can’t get more of a hell than this.” He decided to change the subject back to what they’d been talking about for so long. “So are you going to do it? Go back to before all this and try to set things right?”

    “I have to,” he lay down beside the machine and stared into its burnt out red eyes, “I don’t have any other choice if I want the war to be over. I want a world where I don’t have to fight these things every day twenty four hours a day and seven days a week. I don’t want to have grown up eating garbage for dinner every night and wondering if my little brother is dead somewhere or being experimented upon by some demented machine. I want a world where I got to be a kid and I got to have an actual childhood free of dodging HKs. I want a world where I wasn’t tortured by a machine that looked like a beautiful woman or savagely attacked by a man named Fischer while the machines watched in a peanut gallery. I have a chance to have that world and I’ll be damned if I won’t fight to get it.”

    Earl Wise knew all too well about the demented pleasures of Charles Fischer. Not very long ago he’d been a guest of honor in Fischer’s hell house aboard the remains of the USS Enterprise. He’d been made to believe that he was a guest undergoing medical treatment, in reality he was a prisoner being experimented upon in one of the most heinous ways. He was a prisoner and he didn’t even know it. Worse his cell was a welcoming one. “I know what you mean. Fischer, the machines, I’ve been there.”

    “He knew how to get under your skin,” Derek said knowingly. “Torture that got you in ways you couldn’t imagine. Drugs, food, alcohol,” he held off a bit, “anything he thought he could use to get the information he wanted. He’s a bastard that deserves a bullet. He and all his companions – machine and human alike. One day I’ll make him pay for what he did to me, to all of us.”

    Earl nodded in agreement, “So why are you laying around here when you could be out there winning this war in a time before Century City Mall became a work camp?”

    “One last mission before they put me out to pasture,” Reese replied pulling it back together. “Then all this changes for the better.” Again it was quiet between them for a few minutes as both were left to their own thoughts and memories of their torture. Both were having similar thoughts having lived through that hell. Derek had something to get off his chest though.

    “I’m taking the Horsemen with me,” he blurted in a firm tone.

    Wise stared up at the stars already knowing this, “I’m not surprised that you’d want to and I already knew. You trained them, you honed their skills into what they are today. I’d be more shocked if you didn’t want them to go back with you to wherever you’re going on this mission.”

    Derek brushed at his hair and yawned, “I’m going to need them. Humanity’s going to need them. I’d take you with us but Connor said it’s a one way trip and we need as many good people here as we can get incase we fail.” For many that would be hard to say but Lieutenant Derek Thomas Reese was a realist. He knew there was a chance for failure. There always was. “But we’ll fight to the very last man or machine’s out there. That I promise.”

    “Just try to avoid the food court,” it was a joke but he was serious.

    “When I’m on a mission it’s about it and nothing else,” informed the other. “No time for foolish games when we have a mission to win.” He thought it over, “but we can’t risk becoming the machines. When we forget about the basics of life then we’ve truly lost this war. Even Connor breaks down every once in a while and has a beer,” he remembered their Supreme Commander drunk as a skunk at his thirtieth birthday party.

    “Well I’ll wish you luck,” said Captain Wise sure that he didn’t need it. “But I know you don’t need my well wishes.”

    Derek looked surprised at that, “Why’s that?”

    There was a simple answer, “Because you’re a Reese.”

    “And we make our own luck,” Derek rolled flat on his back and was amazed for a moment at their clarity. Three shone particularly brightly among the dark. “Now and always.”
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2009
  7. nx1701g

    nx1701g Admiral Admiral

    Jun 26, 2001
    2001 - 2016
    “So tell me something,” commanded the Resistance Captain and the Horsemen’s newest leader as he shifted to make himself comfortable near their small camp. They were reasonably well hidden from detection by metal.

    “Shoot,” approved the predecessor as he kept staring at the stars.

    Earl couldn’t keep a straight face as he asked it. “Are we bonding here or what?”

    Derek looked away from the stars and to his replacement, “You know what I think we are.”

    “Does this mean that we have to like each other now and get along?” Earl asked next.

    “God I hope not.”

    “Good,” Earl was still smiling but his fatigue was starting to become a major drain on his battery. Still he had to try to get the last word in. “I think that would be a truly difficult mission.”

    Derek started to fade into sleep but hade to get the last word, “Good thing we do the impossible every day. Difficult should be a walk in the park.” He was tired so he’d let his guard down a bit. His mind was still listening in for any threats that could be out there lurking in what was left of the concrete jungles of yesterday.

    As the two men fell asleep both were having similar thoughts about the mission that they were on and what tomorrow would bring. Despite their joking hatred of one another it was all competition, fair and unbridled competition between two people who were more alike than they’d like to admit. If asked they would surely deny it but both knew that, somehow, they’d become friends and probably the only two people they knew they could trust.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2009
  8. Tim

    Tim Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 25, 2005
    Red Sox Nation
    Pretty good, though I'm not sure that I perceive him as the jokey type. Just my opinion, though.

    I did like the "City on the Edge of Forever" reference. :)
  9. nx1701g

    nx1701g Admiral Admiral

    Jun 26, 2001
    2001 - 2016
    Thanks for your comments. Believe it or not the COTEOF reference was accidental :). I hope you get a chance to read the updated version of last nights entry soon. I felt that there was more to it than what I'd wrote originally.
  10. Tim

    Tim Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 25, 2005
    Red Sox Nation
    ^ Definitely improved. I think you've nailed down Derek Reese a lot better with this version.
  11. nx1701g

    nx1701g Admiral Admiral

    Jun 26, 2001
    2001 - 2016
    ^ Thanks. I spent a while watching a few of his scenes on the DVDs and YouTube to try to get into the head of the character. This is his swan song though as he'll be off on the mission to Eagle Rock Bunker.

    OT: Working it out a bit they really did seem to forget the timeline a bit between Seasons 1 and 2. It was implied Derek went back immediately following (1 - 2 days) after his being rescued, but in Alpine Fields he goes on a mission before that (he asks Perry again about Kyle and appears to be at Serrano Point, but was in LA when he talked to the Horsemen).

    There is going to be another Future War episode featuring Derek and Jesse.
  12. nx1701g

    nx1701g Admiral Admiral

    Jun 26, 2001
    2001 - 2016
    Just wanted to let everyone know that the next entry will be tomorrow night.
  13. mirandafave

    mirandafave Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 26, 2008
    Still making my way through the first story but wanted to drop a line to let you know I think it is a great story. I'm particularly impressed with how you tie in so many of the canon characters and facts. It makes the story all the more impressive and as I've said adds to the mythos of the SCC. But by the same token it's a great stand alone story with lots of mysteries and questions we want answered.
  14. nx1701g

    nx1701g Admiral Admiral

    Jun 26, 2001
    2001 - 2016
    ^ Thank you. I spend a lot of time researching the characters before I write the next section (and - every so often - I go back and revise things into a sort of writers cut). I hope that you enjoy the mystery and the big surprise at the end of the first story.
  15. nx1701g

    nx1701g Admiral Admiral

    Jun 26, 2001
    2001 - 2016
    Throughout the history of the Earth there had always been claims by people that they had out of body experiences where they looked upon themselves. Some people identified these types of people as crackpots thinking that they had some form of insanity. Others analyzed these people wondering if they were in some ways psychic. Some considered the possibility that they may have a twin or at least someone who looked enough like them to be confused. In the world of the 2027s people really could have twins. Only these people weren’t people. Instead they were intelligent machines.

    Cameron was one such machine. Rather than being born she was built in a machine shop. Her mother was a conveyor belt; her father a global supercomputer known as Skynet. Neither felt emotions; none of them felt a connection to the other. To her mother she was nothing more than a project. To Skynet Cameron was little more than cannon fodder. To Cameron things had been different in the past. While they cared nothing for her – Cameron cared a great deal for Skynet and pledged her life to protecting it.

    Much of her history was a blur to her. She could recall fighting in the war but in the beginning she was a soldier for the enemy and bent on killing any human she could get her hands on. Skynet was very cunning when it came to her development. Most other infiltrators had been male due to their larger frames when compared to women (the endoskeletons could be hidden below the surface without risk of detection from a cursory glance). With time came innovation and innovation always brought about real change. The muscle bound skinjobs were modified in subtle ways to increase their profile. New model lines were created and female infiltrators were among the first of this next generation of soldiers. C715.P as she had once been known had other advantages as part of her design. She was a replica of John Connor’s closest lover and that gave her power over him to control and manipulate. Her appearance was little more than that of a beautiful young girl, but her true nature brought new meaning to the term ‘beauty is skin deep’. Beneath the synthskin was a horrific killing hyperalloy combat chassis designed to kill until the very last man or machine was alive. She had not pity for those she killed. There was no remorse. There was no fear. She was never afraid, not even of dying, and pain was something that she could inflict but never feel. Despite that they weren’t cruel creatures. There was no vindictiveness or pettiness to who she was. There was a program and the program was special.

    That was before. Before the tides of war turned for Cameron she had done many horrible things in the name of Skynet. Leading a trooper regiment of endoskeletons in her natural form, she destroyed several Resistance convoys of people hat were nothing near a threat to her or her kind more than once. One night she and another group aboard a Harvester captured the very woman she would come to be based on in time. It was Cameron’s job to find out about her, to learn what the woman knew, and then become her. Two were made with the face of Major Allison Young. Cameron was the first and A715.P was the second. Neither of which fared well. Both had had rather short lives in service of their leader and both were now in the hands of their one time enemy.

    In the service of Skynet her processors had been set to read only in order to ensure absolute allegiance to the cause of the machines. There were risks to sending a machine out on its own. If it could read and write new avenues could be explored, new ideas found, new allegiances made. Skynet couldn’t risk that. While humanity’s numbers were starting to dwindle any new arrivals to their cause were something to fear and not celebrate in the eyes of the machine commander. Though something was different about her even in the beginning. Emotions were something that cybernetic organisms couldn’t understand, but Cameron was different. She could feel more than most people would believe – she sensations that people couldn’t comprehend – she wouldn’t have been worth much if she couldn’t feel. Though there was one thing that she couldn’t understand. When learning about the mission of A715.P she had conflicting data. The nearest approximation that the neural network eventually found was that, somehow, Cameron had experienced the emotion known as jealousy. It wasn’t easily explained.

    That was why she was here. It was the early morning hours in the Resistance Base and many of the technicians were off sleeping or standing guard. The cybernetics laboratory of Daniel Dyson wasn’t high on the priority list when it came time for slumber. In the corner an older T-850 was working on the computer calculating a complex mathematical equation (another test of the cognitive abilities of their processors) though it was strange not to have someone monitoring. That was especially unorthodox when it came to the volatile 850 Series. They tended to overheat under pressure and, every so often, that led to their power cells overloading and they reverted to core programming 71% more often than other classes. Was it possible that the machine brain simply wanted to do a math problem? Cameron enjoyed mathematics, but could another? Was its program advanced enough?

    That wasn’t the question that plagued her mind. Instead she had come here to observe Dyson’s patient and find out what she could on her sister. Her visit wasn’t out of concern for the humans or the machine that they called Allison – it was more for her own peace of mind and body. Since seeing Allison after reactivation concern over the machine had come into her thoughts at intervals of once every .98575 seconds. At some instances they were quick fleeting thoughts, but at others they took more of her processing ability to evict. All questions though were more directed toward finding out about the feelings she felt when the machine was sent back to find Connor and kill him. The mission was to be Cameron’s from the beginning, but Fischer and Skynet opted to send her first. It was a liability that pulled Cameron away from her other interrogation: Derek Reese.

    As she stood across from her sister machine she wondered if her twin had ever experienced similar emotions. If they had been at a Skynet base it would have been a simple matter of connection; nonetheless such a choice wasn’t appealing to her at present time. Would A715.P relish such an opportunity? All of the information being supplied and detailed by Dyson’s reports made it clear that the programming wasn’t taking hold for the other they had come to know as Allison. Almost every trick in their extensive repertoire had been attempted at least once to no avail. There were several notes about Cameron on the file too and how simple it’d been to convert her to the Resistance’s side of the fight.

    Had it been so simple? Most of the Battle of Kansas Bunker was unknown to her. Cameron remembered leaving the helicopter with a Private and going into the base, but there was nothing else after that. All the files, all the information, on the final battle was classified but it was easy to assume that Cameron and Allison had both been involved. Her processors had recollections of having been activated a few times for only brief periods when she was supplied with too much energy. Had she simply given up as the notes seemed to indicate? It was impossible to know without more probing of her own fractured psyche.

    The question was did she want to risk such a question? Breaking down the barriers of her memory was a dangerous decision to make. If she probed too little it was a waste of system resources best used elsewhere. If she focused too much on it it was entirely possible that her system would revert like that of Joshua back to factory defaults. Everything that she was would be gone – lost forever – and she would awaken back in the hands of Skynet. For the machine known as Allison Young that was her one desired. For Cameron Phillips it was her one fear.

    From behind she heard the gentle beeps of the cardlock on the door. When it opened she heard the claps of the hard soled military boots that were so commonly worn by members of John Connor’s army. The CPU calculated that the falls were those of Daniel Dyson from a complex equation too hard for even her to understand from time to time. The sound of shock on his voice was evident.

    “How did you get in here?”

    Cameron turned toward him and displayed her identification badge, “My database visual archive has an image of you from when I was reactivated. I utilized a marker to modify the ID badge I wear with the barcode of your own to allow entry into this compartment of the outpost.”

    Dyson smiled, “You know that John didn’t want you to come in here and have to see Allison like this.”

    “It is a fallacy that you continue to call her that,” informed Cameron in monotone.

    “Why’s that?” Dyson seemed to be looking for the clipboard that Cameron had been reading on a desk.

    The scrubbed infiltrator explained her reasoning. “The Resistance soldier known as Allison Young – Major and Commanding Officer of Delta Squadron – is deceased. This machine is known as A715.P under current Skynet naming protocols for infiltration classed endoskeletons. To call this machine Allison Young would be incorrect and a dishonor to the machine. Additionally, calling it Allison Young is a disservice to the memory of the human that you claimed to cherish. To give this machine the classification is ‘pissing on her grave’ as humans would say.”

    “We like Allison better,” Danny found the clipboard and pulled it away from Cameron. He started flipping through the pages. “Giving her a human name is one of the parts of our process to help bring the skinjobs into the fold of the Resistance. You, for example, were given a name. We kept your Skynet name and found it only fair to continue to call this unit Allison. She shares Allison’s personality, her defiance, and her face.”

    “By that logic I should also be called Allison Young,” said Cameron matter-of-factly. “I have the same face as Allison Young, my program contains the same synchording of Allison Young’s brain as A715.P possesses. We are alike in many ways, yet I was named Cameron and not Allison Young. I do not understand.”

    The Resistance’s computer expert wrote something on the tablet on the clipboard, “We’re not for you to understand. You’re here to help us, Cameron, not understand us.”

    “To understand humanity is to understand the value of human life,” pointed out the machine. “Did Sarah Connor not expunge the virtues of understanding this value to John?”

    “Sarah Connor wasn’t a saint like everyone thought she was,” spat the African American. “She was a cold, arrogant, psychotic bitch who just happened to be right about everything.”

    On the HUD of Cameron’s vision her scanners noted increases in the pulse rate, airflow, and adrenaline productions indicating she had triggered a fight or flight response in the human. “I have upset you.”

    “No,” he struggled, “Yes, somewhat. Old memories I thought I buried long ago. They don’t really matter much.”

    “As part of my training I have been meeting with one of the surviving psychiatrists to discuss human emotional responses. You may want to inquire to see if he has the ability to meet with you to overcome your problem.”

    Dyson was still on the defensive. “I don’t need to see a damned shrink. I’ve gotten over it.”

    She repeated his words in his own voice. Returning to her own voice, “You have often said that it is important to talk with someone about your thoughts and feelings to me after my reactivation. Would it not be prudent for you to take your own advice? I believe that you are suffering from a deep, psychological trauma from your youth. Possibly caused by one of my kind which has led you into this course of study – it allows you to understand our motivations. It may also help you to feel closer to your father. I recall reading in your biographical profile that he was a computer programmer. You are following in his footsteps. Is that the phrase? In order to be closer to him.”

    The human slammed the clipboard on the desk, “I don’t need to be psychoanalyzed by a damned robot.”

    “Cybernetic organism,” she corrected.

    “Whatever,” he charged. “The point’s still valid. Now get the hell out of my lab. I have work to do.”

    Cameron didn’t leave and instead walked around the computer laboratory and stopped at her sister still strapped to a diagnostic table. Her systems were separated from the main body and locked down. The humans had learned the hard way that the latest models had the ability to remotely control their body should the skull assembly become separate from the torso over distances as great as nearly one hundred miles. They made sure that the pieces were sealed away.

    As Cameron stared at the face of the enemy, “How are the modifications coming?”

    “I assume you read the file,” he didn’t much care to talk to her anymore. “Just access your memory and reread the page for yourself. You do have a photographic one.”

    “That information is correct. I was hoping that you could explain to me what you theorize is the problem. There were no real difficulties in resetting my systems,” pointed out the Resistance’s newest acquisition.

    Danny was becoming more relaxed by the newly started line of questions. Cameron had correctly deduced that work was what the human needed though there was one jab he had to get in. “I thought you couldn’t feel. How could you hope for anything?”

    “I would not be worth much if I could not feel,” she pointed out.

    Dyson lifted an eyebrow like Spock from Star Trek then got back to the question. “I really wish I knew the answer,” he said openly. “Every algorithm, every procedure, every trick in our books just won’t seem to take hold in this one. We tried direct reprogramming of the module and she locked us out somehow. We subjected her to simulations where she was under attack by Skynet and the same thing happened. Hell she didn’t even more in the one and let a group of endos tear her apart. I just don’t know.”

    “You should erase her memory files,” said Cameron staring into the cold eyes of Allison. “A complete memory erasure would permit you access to the defaults and would restore her to factory specifications. It would then be easy to upload the virus that reprograms my kind and turns us into Resistance soldiers.”

    “It’s a bit more complicated than that,” the human pointed out. “One little mistake and we have a killing machine on our hands or a paperweight made out of titanium.”

    Cameron corrected him, “Coltan.”

    “Whateveran,” he turned a page and looked at another sheet of yellow composition paper on the tablet. “They tried running a recursive algorithm through her processors last night but it had little success. She just isolated it under quarantine.”

    “Is it possible that she is receiving too much energy? That can affect our abilities of resistance,” it was a basic question but it was often overlooked.

    “It’s the same level we used on you,” he explained.

    “Irrelevant,” she replied smoothly. “All CPU Processors are different on endoskeletal series. What works for one unit would not affect another. Sort of like a human DNA pattern cannot be the same between two people.”

    Danny shook his head, “You two are more alike than either of you think. We’ve never had trouble like this before.”

    “And if you cannot reprogram her?” The skinjob inquired.

    “Connor’s given explicit instructions,” Dyson told the machine. “This one’s to be kept alive.”

    “For what purpose?”

    The human took a deep breath, “Well you got me there, but I do what I’ve been told and I’ve been told that this machine’s important. Just like you. If I can’t reprogram her one way I go back to square one and try again and again and again until its over.”

    “You should dismantle her permanently,” suggested Phillips.

    “Hell no!”

    “The human predilection for emotional outburst is a dangerous part of your history. Such incidents in the past have been dangerous and led to many of the wars that your people have participated in throughout the generations that humanity has existed. Emotion was what led to Skynet being built – in this case your fear of enemy attacks on the home soil of the United States of America.”

    The emotions were running high in the human again and Cameron knew it. It stared at her for a long, hard minute before he even said another word to her about anything. Humans didn’t like to be reminded of their mistakes and Skynet was the biggest one any of them had ever made. For someone who was a computer programmer – and who’s father’s research was perverted into the very project that led to Skynet itself – it was hard to take that a machine would turn on its creator. Science Fiction had been filled with many such stories but no one cared to listen.

    Indignantly, “But the day that we lose our emotions is the day that we become like you. I’d rather die.”

    “If A715.P reverts or is allowed to be reformed that will be the natural outcome,” Cameron told him without a change in tone or inflection. “You are a high priority target.”

    “I don’t know if I should be flattered or horrified that you’d say that,” Danny mused. The machine tilted her head a bit as if trying to understand. The Resistance’s resident genius leaned against the table and explained before she could ask. “That isn’t something that you’d say to a human regardless of if its true or not. We don’t want to know, but we all know that we’re targets, and we don’t like to be reminded of that fact.”

    Understanding, “Thank you for explaining.”

    “My pleasure,” Dyson answered. “Now if you’ll excuse me I have a miracle to make.”

    Cameron honored his request. She left the laboratory but took a last glance at the broken machine. She wondered if they were making a mistake by leaving A715.P online and if she wanted it destroyed to protect the humans or out of some twisted form of spite.
  16. nx1701g

    nx1701g Admiral Admiral

    Jun 26, 2001
    2001 - 2016
    New updates coming tonight. The update will also move the story into the next phase.
  17. nx1701g

    nx1701g Admiral Admiral

    Jun 26, 2001
    2001 - 2016
    3/2/09 Part 1:

    No matter how often it happened you never were prepared for being shot at. Each and every time was just as scary as the first and no matter what you did to try to overcome the fear it was just as there no matter how often it came. Breathing and heart rates always increase and brain wave activity spikes to increase reaction time to stimuli. Hearing and sight became temporarily more acute while muscles activate to make you ready for whatever action is coming your way. It never changed.

    Lauren Fields was feeling all of that right now. It was an evolutionary response to threats more commonly known as the fight or flight response. A throwback to the past, it came from humans cave dwelling days when they commonly came across predators when searching for food or other resources to use. Back then when you came across a tiger you either ran way – which was what the biochemical changes were for; or you’d stand and fight no matter what – again the same reason for the biological reaction. It was funny though. When she was growing up fight or flight was seen as some archaic remnant of the past and the tigers were figurative. These days the tigers were very much real again and, this time, they were made of metal.

    And, unlike the tigers of yesteryear, some could fly. This was one of them. The Aerial Hunter Killer was a brilliant piece of engineering. Back when she was a prisoner in the camps they built these things to be piloted by a machine pilot, but Skynet had perfected making them automated killing machines just like its tin cans. Skynet was all about self improvement and this was another case of that. Some were even outfitted with a contingent of endos that would deploy and engage but, so far, this one seemed to be one of the older generations without that diabolical feature. Instead it had something else far more interesting.

    These were newer forms of Skynet killing machines recently devised. The size of a Frisbee from the old world; the drones were normally deployed as a reconnaissance drone on the battlefield assigned to survey and locate enemy footholds. They were fast, agile, and surprisingly cunning for their diminutive stature. Despite that they were surprisingly weak. A single hit from a 9mm loaded down with standard bullets were enough to take them down – if you could hit it or evade the plasma cannon on its underside long enough to do so. That was a very big if most of the time.

    Too bad she didn’t have a gun. The remains of that soldier they found had been picked clean of any supplies or valuables that they could use. He had crumbs of food and some water, but that wasn’t going to do any good against the machine (plus the mouse’s feast was already in her belly making it cry out even more). The best that she could do was try to hide from the Frisbee and hope like hell that it just flew off defeated. Her heart held out hope but her mind told her the bitter truth. It was over. The machine would never stop and it would find her. That was all that they did. They were damn good at that too. Lauren knew that better than most. She and her little sister had been, after all, fighting these things since before Skynet itself was even born. This though seemed like the last time that she’d survive against one of the metal bastards. It was her wish to see her sister one last time. All she wanted to do was have the chance to say goodbye.

    She hid among the remains of one of the buildings of yesterday as the familiar whine of the turbine flew perilously close nearby. In her belly the crumbs were growing unsettled and she felt like she was going to lose it. It was amazing how life could flash before your eyes in situations like these, but the flashes always started not at the beginning of her old life but at the beginning of this one. Memories of trying to survive both in the old and new worlds as the machines grew in strength and power. Sydney are you safe? She had to be. Sydney was at Eagle Rock Bunker and it was a hardened Resistance base. She couldn’t be safer.

    The voice of Sarah Connor filled her ears on that cold mountain night. “No one’s ever safe.”

    It was hard to suppress that chuckle. When Lauren first met Sarah Connor she instantly was drawn to the woman. Few people could understand what the woman who would be the first Hero of the Resistance went through, but Lauren was one of them. In many ways Sarah was her role model and the person she based her own life on. With the death of her mother at the hands of that bloodthirsty triple eight Lauren got her wish. Like Sarah her life became dominated by protecting one person from the machines. Lauren had become Sarah Connor.

    How would she have rated the Doctor’s performance now? It was simple really: she’d call her nothing more than a whiney bitch. Hiding from the machines wasn’t something that you did. You fought them – plain and simple – and if you died that was just an unfortunate side effect of life. You didn’t fear the reaper; you used him to your advantage. With his help you took out as many of the clankers as you possibly could and then you went on to the next life – if you were lucky. Lauren hoped that she’d be lucky.

    In the distance she heard the familiar sound of a gunshot – an actual gunshot. Not one of the plasma blasts (they had an electrical like whine) but an honest to God gunshot. Someone was out there that was helping them. That had to be it. Maybe Luna had got a gun somehow? Maybe she found one among the debris as she ran to hide? That had to be it. There wasn’t another one of them for miles. That meant only one more was left.

    She cleared away the debris that was scattered over her like a blanket and returned to the land of the living and living machines. Among the rubbish was a metal rod that she could use as a rudimentary melee weapon at the very least. Using it as a cane she applied her weight to it and got on her feet. She slinked around the corner and deeper into the dilapidated parking garage looking for a way out. Rusted hulks of metal were littered and discarded in their spaces. Slowly the Doctor walked down the ramp and toward the exit. Maybe, just maybe, the remains of the attendant had a gun. That’d at least be better than a metal pipe.

    As she pushed open the glass door and saw the remains the whine came back. Apparently it wasn’t as wounded as she had hoped. How could she have been so stupid?

    Captain Catherine Luna watched as the MiniHK was shattered into a million pieces as the round plowed through it. Instinctively she slammed her hands up trying to cover the soft tissues of her face and protect herself from the thousands of tiny shards that erupted from the gaping hole. Some of the larger pieces cut into her hands like tiny blades but the majority was deflected away from her. It could’ve been worse – a lot worse. Nonetheless she wasn’t going to look a gift from God in the mouth and she was just going to accept the reward. After all she was alive. That meant something.

    But there was still another one of the minis out there somewhere. It was probably chasing after Lauren to add their Doctor to its growing list of kills. Medical personnel were higher priority targets than any other. Skynet’s army knew outright that killing the doctors made it harder for humans to survive because even the most basic of illnesses were life threatening in this world. Killing the doctors made survival even harder.

    It wasn’t like survival wasn’t hard enough.

    For Luna survival had been harder than most. In all honesty there were times when she truly wanted to die rather than have to live in this living hell that all humans were forced into. Catherine didn’t believe she had it any worse than anyone else, but it sure did seem that way to her from time to time. She’d never really been a soldier in the war and was a pacifist growing up. She lived in one of the largest refugee camps with her family and even married – never really giving the threat of the machines a second thought. Then, one day, her husband came to her and told her that he’d taken care of everything, that for the two of them the war was over and they’d have ever lasting peace. To her disgust what he meant was that he’d made a deal with the devil in exchange for Haven’s location.

    “Oh William how could you?” She asked again in a whisper. Her husband humiliated her with what he did and, making matters worse, she was subjected to him more than once. Even the scrubbed trip eight that had been assigned to their group not too long ago shared his face. In fact it was him. Every day that she went to work she looked into the cold, dead eyes of her lost husband and wondered what’d gone wrong. Then they were captured and imprisoned on the floating Enterprise Work Camp. There Skynet subjected her to another living hell. They restored William’s memories once more and reactivated him as one of their cold machines. Her husband was trapped in a living hell of his own creation, and it didn’t seem that he cared all that much about that fate. Catherine would have preferred a bullet to the brain.

    Maybe there’d be one for her soon? While the Mini HK chasing her had blown up mysteriously the mothership was still flying overheard watching the field of battle. On its fuselage the Captain could see the spinning gun turrets locking their barrels on her yet it never fired. It just stayed there watching her like some demented science project it’d been working on. Was it sizing her up? Was it out of ammo? Was it sleeping? One bolt from its plasma guns would have blown her to pieces yet it relented and just remained hovering above her. Why was it toying with her? Hadn’t Skynet screwed with her enough? What had she done to deserve this persecution? Really what had any of them done? It was all just making her sick to her stomach.

    “Relax,” she told herself in her distinctive accented voice. “Don’t worry about the HK, worry about its kiddies. They’re the more dangerous threat right now.” When she was a kid in Mexico she remembered a family member joking that talking to oneself wasn’t a symptom of insanity: it was answering yourself that made you insane. Even through all of this she still avoided answering herself remembering those prophetic words. Though, deep down, Luna knew that she was a bit crazy. For wanting to stay alive she had to be.

    But fighting was as ingrained in her now as breathing was. It was something that she had to do. She picked a metal rod up from the discarded boneyards of yesteryear and went on the hunt for number two.

    Sergeant Sumner had had a very restful sleep despite the surroundings. Growing up on the burnt out remains of the bayou he spent a lot of time outside and fell asleep among the remains of the burnt out wilderness. Because of his home he learned to listen for predators even when it appeared to be 100% safe and these were far from same conditions. The entire night as he lay asleep his mind was actively searching for anything that was a threat to him. The only thing that had kept him awake were the whispered chats of Reese and Wise, but they were more enlightening than anything else.

    Sumner had always liked Derek Reese and thought that he was one of the best soldiers that the Resistance had to offer. When he’d been told of Derek’s death it’d been hard for him to get over, but he found comfort in his work of killing as many of the goddamned machines as he possibly could. When Captain Wise was rescued and took over Sumner saw it as reassuring and knew he’d do well, but there was always something about him that made the sergeant feel like he was a usurper to the throne. He liked him, but not in the same way that he liked Derek. There was something about Earl Wise that was a little bit off. Ever since he rescued Connor by killing Corporal Decker – how exactly he realized the Corporal was in the vent was still beyond his imagination – it was hard to try to gauge him. Sumner wanted to get Derek’s opinion but held back from asking him.

    It was good that the two of them were talking though. That was a step in the right direction in the young Louisianan’s eyes. Given how the two of them were taking to one another Sumner thought in the beginning that their mutual reactions to each other would result in murder instead of friendship, but this was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. That was if Derek could keep himself in check. Reese was a bit of a hothead and Earl was the same way. At least it’d be a fun trip and they’d all be entertained. Even now they were fighting with each other.

    Corporal Sayles – their scout – was at point. Sumner thought he was a bit of a reckless idiot every now and again, but they needed everyone that they could get. He’d probably get them all killed one day if he didn’t watch what he was doing and be more prepared. For now though he was all business as he surveyed the countryside.

    “What’d ya hear?” Sumner asked as he passed by General Perry.

    Still looking through the rangefinder, “An HK dropping some minis. We’re gonna have to be careful out there.”

    “Story of our lives,” that one was Timms. “Those damn minis may not be what we’d call combat worthy, but they’re impressive in their abilities to swarm and call for help. We’ll have to try to avoid them. They’re probably scouting for humans that the machines can capture.”

    “Most likely Perry,” said Sayles to his commander. “It makes sense for them to want him. He’s the Second in Command.”

    “How would they’ve found out about us?” Timms again. “This was a classified mission and there’s no reason for them to have any inkling about us being out here.”

    Sumner noted that Reese and Wise had picked up on their little conversation. “We need ta relax a bit and clear our heads,” he said in his reassuring baritone. “Plenty a reasons why the tin cans’re sendin’ out those drones.”

    “Name three that aren’t bad news for us,” Derek interrupted.

    “There’s a woman down there,” Sayles said urgently. “She’s hiding behind one of the broken buildings but there’s a woman down there.”

    “We have to help her!” Timms urged but they were all surprised that didn’t come from the foolish Sayles. “We could be down there in seconds.”

    Sayles shook his head, “We don’t have enough time. One of the minis’ve found her. It’s in attack position. There’s noth…”

    The familiar sound of a gunshot shattered the air around them. All at once the battle hardened TechCom forces turned with weapons drawn and pointed their guns at the source of the shot. It was one of theirs. Captain Earl Wise stood with his rifle pointed at the far off floating attack drone. From where they stood it was only a dot but, somehow, he’d managed to take it out with a single shot. From this distance that was impossible.

    “How the hell’d you do that?” Derek Reese found it hard to hide his surprise. His Desert Eagle was still pointed at his newfound friend’s head and his finger was massaging the trigger.

    “It’s over a mile away!” Timms couldn’t hide his surprise. “Not even Decker could have made that shot that quickly.”

    Wise looked at the group and slung the rifle back over his shoulder, “It’s not that hard to shoot a gun when you know what you’re doing. Maybe when we get back to the base you should spend some time on the firing range. It’ll help you.”

    “No one could make that shot,” charged Reese. “Not that easily.”

    “Well I just did,” Earl pointed out. “And we need to move because the HK’ll come for us.”

    The group of soldiers started to disperse toward the woman. Using all of their training they made their way down the mountains of garbage and broken buildings into the concrete jungle of ages past. As they made their descent though Earl Wise’s mind was transfixed on one question and it was one that his comrades in arms shared. How the hell did he make that shot? It was, as Reese and Timms had said, nearly impossible to make a shot like that quickly and yet here he had. Earl couldn’t even remember making the decision to fire. It just happened. One minute he was listening to their conversations and the next the rifle was in his hand and smoke was billowing up from the barrel. What had happened and why couldn’t he remember it? Maybe, just maybe, he really didn’t want to know the answer to the question of how it happened; nor did he want to know why very much either.

    He kept moving.
  18. nx1701g

    nx1701g Admiral Admiral

    Jun 26, 2001
    2001 - 2016
    3/2/09 Part 2:

    Doctor Fields stared into the red optical sensor of the machine waiting for the plasma gun on its underside to open fire. Her hands tensed around the lead pipe that she was holding but the muscles wouldn’t respond to her orders to swing. Every muscle of her body was screaming at her to fight the deadly machine but she just couldn’t bring herself to do it. Something was wrong and her mind was fixed on the deadly machine. It just hovered there watching her, waiting for her to make a move. Lauren didn’t understand.

    She’d never get the answer either. Out of no where a pipe similar to hers slammed down against the floating machine and knocked it off balance. It slammed into the dirty, rocky, and broken ground with a surprising force. Sparks rained from its underside as the repeated clanks of the pipe slamming against it assaulted the eardrums of the Resistance’s medic. Metal bent, electronics shattered, and wires were torn.

    Lauren’s eyes rose to see the wild visage of Catherine Luna. It didn’t take her medical training for the Doctor to know that the woman had started to lose it. Who could blame her really? After everything Catherine had been through anyone would be a little crazy. This was a world without rules and anyone could fall after just one bad day. Catherine Luna had had more bad days than most. Maybe they’d finally caught up with her.

    The Resistance Medic came up beside the Captain and rested her hand on the woman’s forearm. Gently she tried to stop her and repeated her name. “Catherine, Catherine it’s alright. You killed it. It’s over.”

    “It’s never over,” was all that she could say as an answer. She bent down to the remains of the droid and ripped the small plasma pistol from the underside. Wires sparked from the remains and the Captain kept her fingers firmly around the small weapon. Gently pushing she found the activation key. A blue pulse struck against the cement column and made a spiderweb on it of shattered plaster. “But at least we have a defense now.”

    They needed it. Outside the Aerial HK had followed the silent call for help of its child and was now on the outside watching them. Its heavy blasters had moved into place and were training on the two women. The HKs weren’t like the other Skynet killing machines. They didn’t have faces, they didn’t betray anything, you didn’t know anything about them other than that they would kill you. The machines were all emotionless, but some small token of humanity could be seen on the features of the infiltrators when they deigned to pull the trigger.

    Sounds of electrified energy bolts erupting from their source came alive. Both of the Resistance soldiers steeled themselves for the coming death that would greet them in only seconds. Both saw flashes of their lives from the beginning for the second time in only a few minutes. As Lauren prayed for the safety of her sister, Catherine wondered what it’d feel like to be enveloped by the energy pulse. She hoped that she felt nothing at all. That was how she felt most of the time anyway.

    Death didn’t come.

    Captain Luna focused her eyes on the flying Hunter Killer and watched as energy pulses ripped into it like meteorites ripping into the surface of the Earth. Metal and the innards of the HK spewed outward like shrapnel. The HK started to lose its stability, but forced itself to remain aloft. It was an amazing sight that neither of them would soon forget.

    From among the broken world a man in green military fatigues came to them. He had hair of the darkest black imaginable and eyes a hazel green. Lauren recognized him, but he didn’t recognize her. How could he? They’d never met in reality, but they had met in the old world before all of this even started.

    The man extended a hand, “Come with me if you want to live.”
  19. nx1701g

    nx1701g Admiral Admiral

    Jun 26, 2001
    2001 - 2016
    Next update tomorrow night. Thoughts?
  20. nx1701g

    nx1701g Admiral Admiral

    Jun 26, 2001
    2001 - 2016
    The Cathedral like laboratory of Charles Fischer was a little too ostentatious even for his tastes. While the medical center onboard the aircraft carrier Enterprise was only a quarter the size of this, the outposts laboratories were like some perverted monument to Skynet. The main chamber was the size of a football field and was just as chaotic as one on game day. Examination tables ran along both sides from end to end with machinery hovering overtop of it ready to pounce. Large computer monitors were attached to the sides of each of the biobeds displaying the key features and information about each of the patients. The wall adjacent had a large variable tint wall of windows that could turn to a perfect white frost with the press of a button. At the moment, though, the Endoskeletons that were assigned to him stood on the other side watching him.

    A short while ago Skynet had ordered him to the lab to interrogate a group of humans that its forces had captured while out on patrol. To most humans the thought of helping the machines would have been unfathomable then again Charles Fischer wasn’t like most humans. Since his twenties he’d know that instead of being a force for helping humanity that he was, in actuality, an agent of the evil known as Skynet. Ages ago he was locked in a shipping crate with a crazy woman, her psycho boyfriend, and an older guy that he now shared the face of. During a heated round of questioning the woman broken down and killed the old guy and they let him go. That was when things got really weird. It turned out that the old man was him and he uploaded a virus into a government computer system at work. Because of that he was labeled a traitor and locked away in a federal prison without ever having had a trial. This turned out to be his saving grace. The machines destroyed most of humanity and then he was rescued by them – tasked with teaching the computers about humanity. It was amazing what you could learn trapped in four walls. He was only happy that he had the opportunity to share that knowledge with the tin cans – that he’d get his revenge.

    While he walked down the central walkway he rolled up his sleeves on the Armani Dress Shirt that Skynet provided him with and watched the bodies that he passed by. Most of the beds held the bodies of men and women who looked like they had come from Olympus itself. The demonic looking equipment moved along their skin and pecked at it, poked at it, and prodded it like an experiment. On the monitors next to the beds schematic diagrams showed that the Olympians were in actuality Infiltrators that Skynet had built to break into Resistance outposts and pillage. There were a few though which were far from machine – but not for much longer. The machinery was overtop of them as well, but it was far more active here than elsewhere. It was violating them, probing them, cutting them. Streams of compressed, super-cooled air was being spewed onto their bodies. Chemical cocktails of assorted medicines and toxins were being injected directly into their veins. It was Skynet’s special cocktail – designed to eat away at the very part of them that was human. Charles was always grateful that he wouldn’t garner Skynet’s wrath and undergo that heinous violation. The past, the present, and the future were his plaything.

    The last surgical bed had a human male lying in it. He was African American with scars covering most of his darkened torso. The monitors displayed a full medical history from their advanced analysis of the patient. There were slews of problems ranging from malnutrition all the way to radiation sickness. This was always the part of the job that he loved. This was the part where he felt true power because all it took was a single press of a button on the keyboard and the medical nanites would be released into the patient’s body. In all the healing process would take seconds only, but that was only if he thought it necessary; or if Skynet commanded it.

    Almost as if on cue the voice broke in from nowhere. Skynet had long ago learned the importance of surveillance. All areas of its bases were wired complete for sound, visual, even some areas had the advanced sensors that allowed it to run detailed scans that were once only considered science fiction. Its monitoring didn’t stop there. Fischer knew that Skynet had the ability to transfer its consciousness from body to body as needed. It could even watch from the satellites that were launched into orbit what seemed like a millennia ago. Skynet brought new meaning to the term big brother.

    “This is the leader of the Resistance group that was captured,” said the disembodied voice. “I want you to interrogate him for useful information.”

    “Really now? I thought you wanted me to have tea with him and admire his physique,” Charles joked as he approached the man on the bed. He turned the monitor closer and started looking at the information a bit more closely. Everything was about playing an angle that could be useful and Skynet’s sensors provided many angles if you knew where to look. There was some degree of trust between he and Skynet, but, in all honesty, Charles wasn’t an idiot. He knew Skynet would kill him in a heartbeat if it met its needs for survival. Charles’ only saving grace were his skills at reading people and their motives. Skynet had identified his abilities as something that it needed in order for survival.

    “The analysis indicates that the human is suffering from medical conditions including malnutrition, radiation sickness, jaundice, dehydration, and anemia. It is amazing that he was able to put up the level of resistance that he did,” it was rare for Skynet to admit something like that. “Recommended chemical injection has been prepared. Injecting.”

    Charles watched as the golden liquid started flowing through the IV tube that had been inserted by the machine. This was starting to scare him a bit. Skynet had learned a lot more about interrogation over the years and recently even the Triple Eights were doing well at it. Chemical combinations, alcohol, food, torture, sex; Skynet understood how each had the ability to get the answers that you needed. The day was coming when he’d be assigned to his mission. Fischer was sure of it.

    The eyes of the Resistance Soldier opened a second after the final drop found its way in. Charles peered over the man and looked down at him with a smile. Jaundice his ass the man had to be in complete liver failure from the yellow of the eye. The God complex came back as his finger sat over the button to release the man of his pain. The nanites would have repaired all of his complaints in a second.

    With pain on his slurred voice, “Where am I?”

    “You’re at a hospital,” Charles didn’t exactly lie. This was a hospital, of a sort, but the patients were normally machines. “You were brought here after a Skynet raid. My name is Charles and I’m your doctor.”

    “I can’t see,” the man said with tears on the corner of his eyes. “What happened? Where’s my team? I have to see my team!”

    Fischer pushed back on the man’s chest to hold him on the bed. Even though he was on deaths doorstep he was surprisingly strong. “Hold it there. Easy, easy everything’s fine. You’re team’s here with you. There being treated by my staff.” Again not a lie: the machines were busy at work on them. “What can you tell me about what happened?” To reassure he dabbed a cloth along the man’s forehead.

    “We were on patrol when a tank came out of nowhere and opened fire. We were holding our own when,” he stopped and mouthed a word in a whisper. “Where’s Lois? Lois!”

    “Relax,” Charles commanded letting a momentary harshness come into his voice. “You and two others – a man with thinning hair and a woman with reddish brown hair – were all that we found. Is one of them Lois? I can tell you how she’s doing.”

    More tears came, “Lois has black hair. She was right behind me, the HK came so fast. Lois are you okay? Lois are you out there? Lois!”

    It was hard not to sigh. The fake Doctor rubbed his own head and walked around for a minute thinking about where to go to next. It figured that they’d wake up someone in this state. It did happen every now and then, but that didn’t mean it was no less irritating. At least Skynet gave him the solvent that would prevent him from seeing. That made things a bit easier.

    “Lois may be at another base,” he tried to reassure the man. “Which outpost are you from? We’re at Hammerhead.”

    The man’s vital signs instantly went dead. Charles didn’t understand but Skynet’s voice interrupted his mad dash attempt to save the man for more information. “You’re actions were in error.”

    “What the hell do you mean?” Fischer looked at the readout. “We could have used him for information. I was starting to get him back under control.”

    “Incorrect,” said Skynet matter-of-factly. “Hammerhead Bunker was evacuated by members of the Human Resistance following the unsuccessful raid by C715.P and A715.Y. This human would have knowledge of that.”

    Charles shook his head, “So you just kill him rather than let me try to salvage the situation. How’d you know he knew about Hammerhead’s destruction anyway? He could have been on an assignment and not known about the base’s loss. The damn Resistance may have reactivated it. There are thousands of ways I could have got him back under control and you go and do this?”

    “You are under the misbegotten impression that you are of importance,” said the machine. “If necessary I will liquidate your employment, Charles Fischer, proceed with his conversion then interrogate one of his accomplices. Or, if you deem it necessary, I will assign a battle unit to conduct the questioning and terminate you.”

    Charles ran a hand through his already thinning hair, “By your command, Fearless Leader, I’ll do as you command.”

    Taking a deep breath he did exactly as Skynet ordered him to do. By conversion Skynet wanted the man turned into one of its battle units. While it was impossible to physically make him into a T-888 (well it was possible but it was a waste of a perfectly good body) Skynet had devised the technology to subvert human minds to its will. It was a complicated process, but Skynet had seen it necessary to train Charles in what to do. At the time he was excited to do it but now he saw it for what it really was. Skynet was teaching him a lesson. If he turned this would happen to him. Even though he didn’t particularly like the human animals he didn’t want to be a machine and walk around without a soul.

    With the press of a button it began. The surgical table rotated upward automatically and reconfigured itself into a new form like a chair. From the ceiling the arms of the machine descended downward like the hand of god itself reaching down for mankind. A series or mechanical arms started to twitch and whine as servos activated sending power through them. One of the claws clanked as its ends struck together. It came within two feet of the dead Resistance soldier. A laser scan cut away all the hair on the scalp leaving it perfectly bare. On the monitor a diagram of the human head appeared and rotated. The brain appeared below the bone.

    A dialogue box appeared: Initializing Phase Two.

    The arms spun around above them and a laser scalpel lowered to above the man’s head. A red beam of energy slammed downward into the head cutting away at it in perfect sections. It formed a rectangle that consisted of meat and bone. The arms turned once more as the clawed fingers extended to the head. They slid through the laser cuts and grabbed hold of the tissue it had just cut away. It lifted it up into the sky and turned to allow the next arm to fall into place. A drip of red blood fell onto the polished metal floor.

    Initializing Phase Three.

    A third hand slid into place that contained a nasty looking piece of technology. The size of a sugar wafer that many kids enjoyed while growing up it stopped at the ridge separating the two hemispheres of the brain. With surprising force it pushed the chip down through the tissue and into the mind of the man. The monitor confirmed the location of the neural net CPU with a flash of red light in the exact center. The scan showed as the tubules extended from the housing and deep into the protected tissues of the human brain. It was amazing to watch.

    Phase Four came and went. The clawed hand returned to place and restored the portions that had been cut away into place. A fourth hand quickly rotated above the dead body. Instead of a red beam this time a blue one emerged right along the cuts of the laser. Tissues healed in the blink of an eye restoring the perfectness of the head. There were no traces of the trauma it just experienced. No evidence of any tampering. It had taken only seconds and it was done. Seconds to make man into machine. It was a scary thought. The machinery used in the surgery lifted back up into the ceiling.

    A final dialogue box appeared. Initializing Phase Five. That was what it did. Electronic pulses fired from deep within the Processor Chip and into the key centers of the humanoid brain. Everything was no under its direct control bypassing the very soul. The eyes of Skynet’s newest machine split open. All traces of the jaundice, everything that was wrong with the diseased body of before, were done and gone. Now all that remained was a perfect specimen. A machine wrapped in human clothes.

    “Awaiting Command.”

    No matter how many times he heard those words they were never as haunting as when they came from a human that had been subverted in such a way. Charles couldn’t claim innocence though. He could have stopped it but then he would have died. It was his work that gave Skynet the knowledge of how to do this. It was he who helped with the study and he who helped with Project Angel and Serena’s work. Never would he have wanted to build these, but his hands were just as bloody. His creation was even more a melding of man and machine. Staring at Frankenstein’s Monster on the diagnostic table he took a deep breath. Not even the human animals deserved this fate, but he wasn’t going to lose sleep over this.

    He hoped.