Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by nx1701g, Jul 22, 2009.
A bit exposition heavy at times, but it does explain nicely what happened to Savannah and Ellison.
And as for the fate of Strategic Command Unit 3947, well, 'intriguing' is the right word!
You made a sympathetic Terminator-goood job! More, please?
I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm working on the next chapter and I have it about 50% done.
Sorry for not posting the next chapter sooner. Everything's gone fairly hectic lately (the job of a marketer is never done ).
The next entry will be posted later today (Sunday). I just have to edit it a bit more.
“Here they come!” Kyle Reese screamed at the top of his lungs just as the world seemed to collapse around each of them. An army of endoskeletons marched forward in perfect synchronism like a phalanx of the ancient world. Their metal skeletons were polished to perfection and acted like a perfect mirror reflecting everything back at the dwindling human line they were engaging. Their demonic grins and devilish red eyes betrayed nothing as they opened fire on the last lines of humanity. Thousands of bullets were fired in seconds while the reserve line let loose with the plasma cannons that had become more and more common in battle.
The human line fought back as the platoon of machines pressed forward. The last outpost of humanity had been fully stocked when the survivors arrived, but that didn’t mean much when it was only two dozen people against an army ten times that number. Nonetheless they fought and they fought as hard as they possibly could. The front line opened fire with their deadly plasma cannons trying to score as many critical hits to the machines as they possibly could before they were overrun. It was like a battle between gods as the two sides fought with humanity on the losing side of the fight for paradise. It was a battle as old as time.
Derek Reese threw a grenade over top of his head at the lineup and managed to land the explosive right between a group of the approaching monsters. When it broke into flames it managed to knock over three of them and blew the leg off of another, but more took their place. One of the endoskeletons, a Series 700, stepped right over its fallen comrades and used one to rise off the ground for a better vantage point from which to fire. Hundreds of bullets pelted the ground of his barricade ripping through it, closer and closer to the human behind. Derek knew he was running out of time.
Off to the side another soldier, a man named Earl Wise, stood behind a barricade that was once the wing of a 747 which had fallen from the sky when its artificial brain cut its power on Judgment Day. Another soldier, a girl with red hair, handed him a portable missile launcher that was bigger than she was. With great difficulty the man managed to swing around and release the devastating payload right into the chest of an approaching Hunter Killer Tank knocking it off course. The massive tank fell apart, crashing on top of several of its own companions on the battlefield. It only served as a temporary delay and was a short success. As Wise struggled to recompose himself to move on to the next target an Aerial Hunter Killer flew overhead and fired multiple shots from its turret based cannons. Wise didn’t have a chance to compensate for the flying attacker. The pulse ripped through him and his buddy like a warm knife would slide through butter.
“I’m running out of ammo!” Jonathan Sayles yelled from the sidelines. He fired several more shots from his rifle taking down a flying reconnaissance bot that the Hunter Killer had dropped off as it passed overhead.
John Connor ran as fast as he could and tossed a clip at the soldier when he went passed. “Make them count,” he demanded of the soldier as he climbed into the wreckage of a bus. John climbed up the central aisle and to the broke open emergency exit at the rear. The once destined leader of the Resistance peered through the hole and saw just how devastating the Skynet assault was going to be. The ground was crawling with tin cans as far as his eyes could see. The front lines were made up of a combination of endoskeletons, older first generation tanks, and some of the newer Centurion walkers that Skynet had become so fond of deploying against them. Behind those lines were the real big boys that they should be afraid of. A wave of Hunter Killer Tanks and a couple of Harvesters were on the far edge waiting to pick up any humans that managed to evade the droid army. There was even an Ogre Heavy Tank standing in the far back like a silent sentinel just waiting to let loose its devastating heavy plasma cannons. If Skynet were commanding this battle from anywhere nearby it was from inside the heart of that colossus.
As the Hunter Killer flew overhead, John slid down the aisle just in the nick of time. A large plasma blast hit where he’d been crouched seconds prior and the skeletal bus was enveloped in flames. Somehow he’d managed to get far enough from the blast zone that he’d escaped the fire, but he still felt the heat coming from the relic. The flyer flew above him and shone its spotlights on him waiting for any kind of movement, but John was smarter than the machine. He kept his body limp and the attack ship, convinced he was dead, just flew away for its next target. Connor rolled forward firing several pulses from the plasma gun and into the underside of the attacker, but it moved off without even a wobble of its wings.
“Damn you,” Connor cursed as he got back to his feet and spun around to run to the nearest barricade so he could continue the fight. Right as he was starting into his run he saw a woman step in front of him just a little bit outside of arms reach. He barely had enough time to stop to miss tackling her. His body barely complied and he fell on his ass as he came to a final stop. John looked up into the eyes of the person who had been his greatest champion. He pushed himself backward trying to show himself as bigger than he was, as stronger than he was, to the woman that had taught him everything.
Sarah Connor looked exactly as John had remembered her when he left Zeira Corporation in the T-1000’s temporal displacement equipment. She stood with perfect posture that gave off a tough, yet somehow had a quiet softness to it. Her green eyes looked at him sharply and her black hair was swept behind her in the ponytail she wore while he was a kid while they were in South America. His mother was dressed in a black - it could’ve been navy - tank top and her characteristic cargo pants (which John assumed were filled with weapons of one form or another knowing his mother and her dogged determination to be ready for anything). Her piercing gaze looked down at him as he rose back up to his feet, but she didn’t say a word to him; not even a word of disapproval as he’d expected to hear.
“Mom?” John questioned with his voice breaking from his emotions getting the better of him. She’d probably yell at him for showing any type of emotion while on the battlefield other than determination and relentlessness, but he didn’t care. This was his mother after all and it’d been the first time he’d seen her in years. All he wanted to do was talk to her, to have her help him win this war. If anyone could help them to turn everything around it was Sarah Connor. If only she would talk to him. Any suggestion would be perfect right now.
Sarah tilted her head slightly and asked, almost in a monotone voice, the two words that had meant more to her than anything in the world. “John Connor?”
His entire body filled with dread just from the way that she’d said his name. Those words told him that this wasn’t his mother; that it couldn’t be his mother. This was a machine, an infiltrator sent to kill him. Sarah Connor was dead anyway, killed in the aftermath of Judgment Day by Skynet. Nevertheless, though, John couldn’t bring himself to take a shot at her. Every fiber of his being was telling him to shoot her between the eyes with the plasma cannon to liquefy her processor ship, but he couldn’t do it. This was his mother, but it wasn’t. It was like his mind had been cut off from his muscles as he stared into her eyes. With all his strength, all of his energy, he managed to turn and run away from the beast that shared his mother’s face.
Though behind him was another face from his past long forgotten. Uncle Bob, the machine he’d sent to protect him as a child, stepped from among the shadows and came toward him. It repeated the same words that the replica of Sarah had just asked him. To his left came Cromartie as he’d seen him when they first met in Mister Ferguson’s Chemistry class in the ass end of Nebraska. Next to him was the T-1000 that had hunted John as a child; its arms were replicas of Excalibur. Then there was the other shapeshifter that had brought him to this forsaken world with her fiery red hair fluttering in the breeze. Cromartie’s other look, John Henry, was approaching from next to her as they surrounded the prophesized leader of mankind.
John’s head was spinning as he spun around looking for a way to escape from this hell. There was one hole left, one little that he could run through to escape from the approaching automatons, between the facsimile of his mother and the metal bitch that had left him alone in this timeframe. As he went to run for it the hole filled before he could reach it and it was filled with the bridge he’d made between humanity and the machines. Cameron walked toward him slowly and steadily with her face as he’d left her in the subbasement of Zeira Corporation. Her red machine eyes burned even through the still intact replica on the right side. All of the machine’s eyes were burning with the fires of Armageddon deep inside.
At once the squad of machines all raised their weapons toward the head of John Connor. Catherine Weaver lifted a finger while John Henry lifted one of the phased plasma rifles that Skynet was using. Uncle Bob was carrying the minigun that he’d used to force the police to fall back as they destroyed the Cyberdyne Laboratories back when the Connors believed that Judgment Day could be stopped. The T-1000 mirrored the actions of Catherine Weaver only it raised its entire arm with the point ready to extend outward from the swordlike appendage. Cromartie was holding onto a rather dated Beretta 92F, like he had when he hunted John at the school, but it was just as deadly. Then there was his mother’s replica who stood with her MP5 Submachine gun pointed right toward John’s head. The last of his firing squad, Cameron, had signature weapon too: the Glock 17. All of them stood there watching him with their fingers on the triggers of their guns waiting for the order to fire.
“I will die,” John Connor repeated from the tapes of his mother as he stared into her replica’s eyes. “I will die and you will die. Death gives no one a pass.”
At once they all fired.
John Connor flew out of the bed and into combat readiness. His adrenaline was pumping, his body was sinking everything he had into his fight or flight responses, but there was no reason for it. He let out a long breath as he tried to relax himself to a safe level. Nothing he had seen was real, none of it had happened. It was just a nightmare pure and simple and it was nothing that he should worry about. He wasn’t a psychic, he didn’t have foresight regarding future events despite what so many people could claim, and it was just a stupid dream. He had to remember that it was just a stupid dream.
It was a stupid dream that happened to feel as real as life itself though. It was truly sad when Skynet and its automatons were able to invade someone’s own dreams and warp them against him. It felt so real so much like reality that he could’ve sworn he’d actually lived those events. Plus Skynet had the perfect weapon against him. Sarah Connor, if Skynet ever figured out that it should replicate her, was probably the one and only machine that could get under his skin and through his defenses. Not even Uncle Bob could get as close to him as his mother could. But it wasn’t possible for Skynet to know to use her; nor did it have her physical template on file at any rate. For all intents and purposes John Connor was a nobody in this conflict even though he’d been here for over three years. It was true that he was on a Skynet kill list or two, but not as the priority target so much as he knew. That was an honor reserved for his father.
Which posed another problem of course: if Kyle Reese were the greater threat than John Connor was in this reality, why would Skynet make the last ditch attempt to kill Sarah in the past like it had in the world he came from? There’d be no reason to; there would be no logic in the necessity of killing John Connor to win the war in the future. The first machine would never go back in time with Sarah Connor as its target and Kyle Reese would never go back to protect her. Everything would’ve been different but, he knew deep down, everything would’ve been the same. Only the players would be different - much like they were today. Kyle would have a little bit more preparation than he did before but that’d be the extent of the advantage. Though, in this new world, he’d be John Connor; if grandpa and grandma survived that was. There were no guarantees not even that the events leading to his own birth would be recreated again. Who knew what the real flow was anymore.
John ran his fingers through his hair and collapsed back onto the bed. He didn’t want to think about such things and - more to the point - he really didn’t want to think about much of anything. John needed to take a vacation, well they all needed a vacation, or he at least needed a mental health day to try to wrap his brain around everything. It wasn’t like he’d get that wish though. If Kyle gave anyone a mental health day it’d probably end up in them needing a hell of a lot more of them because whoever took it would probably lose their mind. And then Skynet, of course, wasn’t going to give them any time off because it didn’t have to. It was winning and wasn’t about to call a stalemate so that it could relax and enjoy a day without firing a shot.
As he heard someone coming toward the door John knew that he wasn’t destined for even a moment’s rest. Still from his place on the bed he heard a gentle knocking that got louder the longer it took for John to stir. He didn’t want to deal with anyone right now and just wanted to lay here unless it was news about Allison. That was the only way that he wouldn’t chew the head off of whoever was on the other side. Well he’d probably give him a pass if it was a Skynet attack, but the chances of that were even unlikely. Connor left the bed and opened the door only to be filled with another rage when he saw the woman on the other side.
“I’m sorry to bother you,” said the familiar voice of Jesse Flores, “but I was told to come get you and bring you to the security room.”
John stood there a moment looking into Jesse’s eyes. He kept reminding himself that this wasn’t the same woman he’d had the unfortunate happenstance of dealing with in his old life. She may have looked like her, she may’ve sounded like her, but the truth was that she wasn’t her. If everyone was the result of their circumstances it was entirely possible that this Jesse was a different person and that was the only reason that John hadn’t already grabbed the Glock from his dresser and put a bullet between her eyes. He may have forgiven her in the past, but that felt like it’d been a lifetime ago.
“Is there a problem?”
“No,” John was pulled back to reality. “Sorry it’s just,” he paused as he put on a fake smile, “you remind someone I used to know.”
Jesse grinned for a second, “I suppose everyone’s had that every once and a while. I hope that she was a good bird.”
“My uncle thought so,” he answered honestly, “but it didn’t work out between them.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” she sounded genuine.
John shrugged, “I really wasn’t, but I’m sure that you don’t want to hear about my family’s problems. Not that they matter anyway since my family’s dead. But,” he realized he was heading off on a tangent better left unexplored, “I’m sorry you said that you needed to take me somewhere?”
“Yeah,” she answered, “Top wants to see you. He’s been talking with that other bloke that came in with you most of the night. They asked me to come find you and bring you to them when I reported for morning watch.”
“Well I haven’t got anything better to do,” he said grabbing the coat that Kyle had given him when he first arrived from its place strewn over the back of the chair. “Care to lead me to this security room? I haven’t been here long enough to have my bearings yet.”
She nodded, “I was going to anyway.”
“Of course,” he nodded wondering what she was thinking of him – if she were thinking of him at all. His personal opinion of Jesse, however, was mostly static over something that she hadn’t even done and wasn’t even responsible for. Only time would tell how John Connor and Jesse Flores would get along, but if history were any indication then John already had his answer. More than likely he’d try to kill her before this was all over; though, a very small part of him, hoped that this wasn’t the case and kept reminding him that this wasn’t the person he remembered.
If only the rest of him would remember that fact.
Derek Reese felt the warm light of the sun cascade down his face and lay completely still to allow it to engulf his naked body completely. It’d been a very long time since he’d been able to sleep so comfortably, in a bed no less, and with a beautiful woman at his side. The night had been perfect and it let him to finally blow off the steam that had been brewing inside him like a cancer. It had even softened him a bit more than he’d like to admit to himself. Where he was laying was the perfect example of that. Every iota of his training had drilled into him that he should never let himself be exposed to the world while sleeping (not that he got much sleeping done but that was immaterial), but last night he didn’t care. He and Jesse went to one of the exterior rooms on the fourth floor – it was higher than the tanks could see and the Aerial HKs rarely flew low enough to look into those rooms – and lay next to a large bay window that overlooked the gloomy skeleton of Los Angeles. It was an eerie backdrop; though he didn’t care about the scenery. He was only concerned with the woman between his two hands.
It was hard for him to understand what it was about Jesse that practically made him lose control of himself. There was something about her that he found irresistible, intoxicating was the better word for it. She had a power over him and he didn’t really understand how he felt so good with her so quickly. He’d been with other women but it was different this time. It was like he’d known her for his entire life and like they were meant to be together. Maybe, in another life, they’d call what they shared love at first sight. Here he really didn’t know what to call it other than something he really needed.
He rolled on his side and reached for her wanting her body to be the first thing his fingers felt, her face to be the first thing that he saw. There was nothing there. His eyes fluttered open in a fury and he rushed his hands over the open space. How the hell did she get away? Derek was a trained soldier, well unofficially trained, and he was sensitive to even the simplest touches. How could she have slipped away? She wasn’t a figment of his imagination, it wasn’t possible for her to have been, so where could she have gotten to? Maybe he’d have to recheck his sensitivity.
Reese rolled forward and sat which his head in his hands as he wondered how she got away. He’d done it before to so many women why should he have felt surprise that there was a woman out there who was just as good at it as he was? All it managed to do was make him want her more. She was a mystery and if there was one thing that Derek liked it was a mystery. Maybe that was what drew him to her like a moth to a flame?
While he yawned Derek walked over to the window, it didn’t seem so risky to him, and looked out at the world below. It was still dark, depressing, and painful but there were thankfully no machines that he could see trying to swarm their hideaway. There was actually no activity outside the window which was a welcome change from having to deal with that walker at their old base that Connor destroyed. Though, that little mission seemed to have led Skynet right to them. The machines did come only a few short hours after that tin can was destroyed. Then again there was still the mystery of Kyle’s benefactor to deal with.
From the door he heard the noise of the handle giving way to allow someone to come in from the other side. Derek, realizing he was still undressed, didn’t rush to clothe himself and merely turned toward it. It was probably Jesse coming back so that they could have another round of ‘exercise’ as she’d called it so it was better to just cut out the middle steps and get right to the good stuff.
“What the hell are you doing?” Kyle Reese yelled looking at his brother. He turned and looked at the closet, “Why the hell aren’t you dressed yet?”
Kyle’s brother, embarrassed to an extent, grabbed his pants and slid them back on. “What? It’s not like you haven’t seen it before.”
“I could’ve done without seeing your junk ever again too,” the younger brother answered. “What the hell’s taking you so long to get ready anyway?”
“I had a late night,” he said looking for his strewn about clothes. “Lots of stuff going on and a friend came over so I was up even later than usual. We went exercising.”
Kyle was still looking at the closet not quite ready to look at Derek yet. “Look, what you do with your friends is really none of my business and I really don’t want to know. Though, right now, I need you to come with me to the Security Room so that we can meet with Mister Ellison. We have an operation that we’re planning and I could use your input.”
“Aren’t you just going to override me with whatever Connor suggests anyway?” Derek lobbied trying to get a rise out of his brother. He holstered his Beretta. “You tend to do that.”
“Not every time,” the younger Reese wasn’t taking the bait and tried to avoid the situation. “If he has a good idea we’ll go with it, just like if you have a good idea we’ll run with yours.”
Derek snorted, “Sure, that’s what I meant to say.” He buckled the last strap that held the knife holster around his leg, “You ready to go?”
“Waiting on you,” Derek’s brother was finally looking at him. “We don’t have a lot of time.”
“What’re we planning anyway? Who’s this Ellison guy?” Kyle’s brother queried as they started down the hallway.
Kyle handed over a note that was inside his pocket to his brother, “You’re already well aware of what we’re doing.” He saw Derek looking at the contents of the crumpled paper, “We’re carrying out that mission that we were planning before Skynet attacked our base. We’re going to Topanga.”
“You can’t be serious!” The older Reese yelled at the younger one. “Didn’t that attack drill it into your head that it was a machine trap? There’s nothing at Topanga Canyon. There’s no Skynet base, there’s no doomsday machine that’ll kill us all, there’s nothing there that’s important. I thought that you’d figure it out after the machine army descended on our bunker that it was all a trap.”
“Derek,” Kyle tried to calm him.
“Don’t take that tone with me little boy,” Derek sounded a lot like their father and he even used the title that irritated the both of them so much when children. “You’re smarter than this.”
They kept walking with Kyle holding his hand around Derek’s bicep, “Listen to me and don’t talk to me like I’m some little kid. That boy that you had to protect when dad died, he’s gone. He’s not here anymore. That note was not brought by me, Connor, anybody in our group. It was here already. Understand?”
“What the hell is there to understand? Hmm?” Derek broke free of the hold and kept going, “Skynet’s playing with us with those messages and they used your belief in them to wipe out our home. Skynet tracked you with those messages we received that’s it. If we go to Topanga then everything will be for nothing. We’ll die because Skynet’s just trying to lure us there.”
“Ellison’s group found the Skynet base in Topanga Canyon,” Kyle revealed in a low voice, “the base’s real, Derek, it isn’t imaginary. Ellison’s own people, led by a woman named Flores that used to be in the Navy, got this information for us. They were planning their own assault without our help before we got here.”
The mentioning of Jesse’s name took the heart out of his fight and Kyle saw it but held his tongue. Derek saw this and spoke in his cynical tone, “let’s go talk about how we’re going to commit suicide shall we?”
The younger brother scratched at his five o’clock shadow and grinned ear to ear, “You faker. I guess I know the name of the person you exercised with.”
“Go to hell,” the older brother teased.
“I thought we vacationed there,” Kyle teased back. “We have a nice riverfront property on the river Styx if I recall correctly.”
Derek laughed, “You’re forgetting we had to trade in that property. It was a timeshare only and the other owner decided that they wanted to buy it outright. It sucks too because I liked our neighbors.”
Kyle laughed and opened the door, “Well I guess we can’t have everything.” He motioned, “After you.”
Seeing Savannah Weaver standing on the other side with her phased plasma rifle pointed right at him Derek held back for a second and looked at Kyle. “Maybe it’d be better if you go first.” He looked at the girl and her steel gaze, “I insist.”
Best two chapters yet. The dream sequence was really well done, Derek and Jesse were well done, the interaction between Derek and Kyle was great, and here's creepy Savannah at the end ... I liked it!
^Agreed! The action sequence was very convincing.
Thank you everyone.
I'm beginning work on the next chapter now but I'm not going to give a time frame for posting because, somehow, I always seem to not reach these deadlines once I set them. It should be posted by the weekend.
And there will be more creepy Savannah.
Good chapter(s) and I'm looking forward to the Ellison meeting. Very much.
Not too long ago the Sovereign Room was one of the most beautifully decorated ballrooms in all of Los Angeles County if not California itself. It was a playground of the wealthy and had hosted star studded weddings, birthday parties, and anniversary celebrations. The waiting list to even get to tour it for possible use was rumored to be so long that you could wall paper every room in the hotel with it and still have some pages left over. Beautiful crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling (including one in the center that was easily the size of a luxury sedan), several dozen tables lined a central dance floor, and a well appointed bar was along the right side of the chamber.
It’d been a long time since the room had been used for its original purpose and, to be honest, the Sovereign Room had been rarely used since the refugees made the hotel into a last outpost at all. Amazingly the room hadn’t taken much damage over the years and the oversized chandelier was still hanging in the center of the dance floor. That was the only thing that had remained nearly perfect. The tables had a layer of dust covering them that had made the white tablecloths a dingy brown color. Some of them had been overturned, the chairs ripped or broken. A few people had written messages into the dust and almost none of them were very appropriate to read. The room that had once hosted the wedding of the Governor’s Daughter had forgotten those glory days and now it was left to the filth.
John Connor took a seat near the middle of the room where he could have a good view of everything going on around him. It was a pretty good seat from where he was concerned. He had a clear view of the stage where the base commander would make his presentation from and he was close to an exit if he had to get out of there in a hurry. While he walked with Jesse he made a point, like his training had dictated, of paying more attention to the layout and the diagrams posted every so often in the corridors so that he could come up with a reasonable plan to escape if the war found them again. This ballroom was in the center of the hotel’s second floor and was surrounded by service corridors on all sides but the one with the door he came in through. Going through the front doors of the ballroom he’d be on the upper balcony overlooking the lobby and he could pretty much go straight through the main doors to escape if Skynet found them.
That was if he wanted to die. Most rookies would make the mistake of trying for the quickest, most direct route out of the room and to the outside world. That’d be the side that Skynet would most focus on. If trouble would erupt John would run for the portion of the ballroom that held the bar. The bar itself was a perfect barricade since it was made out of a very thick looking metal (it could’ve even been silver if this building’s history was to be believed) if he was trapped in a shooting war. The door attached led into a small storeroom that opened up into the service corridor. John would go through this door, run down the hallway, and then he’d go into the industrial sized kitchen. From there he had two options available. There was a door to the northeast that led to a small stairwell that connected to an emergency exit; the exit, in turn, led down the embankment that was left from the blast crater of the nuclear missile Skynet used against LA in 2011. The other door in the southeast led to another stairwell that would take him to the basement. The basement itself was the best choice if he had any hope of surviving this. They’d stored some weapons in a small storage compartment on the basement level so he’d be able to rearm for the long trek away. Also, as always, there were tunnels that they’d established to help with escape should they need them and he could gain access to the sewer system through them. From there it was his choice where he went. The only problem was there were no more hideouts to choose from if he was able to escape. He’d be on his own and forced to find shelter.
Truthfully he realized that escape on any of the normal routes was a long shot this time. Skynet had routed them too many times before and the refugees had to expect some surprises. Skynet would probably anticipate any actions that the refugees would take even by now. Using its records the machines would probably figure out the choke points that they could use to hold off any humans from escaping. That was the problem with having isolated bases: the more isolated you were the harder it was to keep hidden. Being off the beaten trail was often a gift and a curse and if they needed to get away quickly no one really knew which of those two choices this would be. Right now it was a gift but if a tin man showed up it’d be a curse again as it’d be hell to try to escape.
Good thing that every last one of the people John had met since arriving here liked a good challenge. The only drawback was that it looked like everyone he’d met since he arrived here had been pulled off of their patrol routes and had been brought into the Sovereign Room for this little briefing. He was truly impressed though, and John wasn’t really easily impressed by much of anything, about the people that he met while he was here. It was amazing that somehow he’d heard about every one of these people before; let it be from Uncle Bob, Cameron, Derek, or stories that his mother had repeated from his father’s stories on that fateful day, he’d somehow met all of them. The most important members of the Resistance of his reality were here in this very room and there wasn’t a damn thing that John could say to any of them. It was like the galaxy was playing a cruel joke or trying to right itself somehow or another or maybe it was both, but that was a dilemma best left to philosophers and scientists to try to figure out. When this was all over he’d find one of those great thinkers, if there were any left, and tell him the story and find out his opinion.
Connor tapped his fingers on his tabletop as he kept waiting and wondered what was taking so long. Everyone he’d met was here which meant that this prized base commander was probably here by now too. Derek and Kyle had just come in and they were the only two stragglers that John had noticed. The only person he didn’t see was Maria Graber but, from what he’d been told by Jesse when she brought him here, Graber was the unfortunate migrant assigned to patrol the outside world incase Skynet chose this very moment to attack. John remembered hearing stories about her from Derek one night while they were following a lead while they were looking for the Turk. Graber was a soldier who’d led a team that was able to infiltrate a Skynet base and stole a nuclear torpedo from it that Skynet had been keeping in reserve for a rainy day so to speak. Unfortunately there were no other people from her team that he knew of being alive right now, which was devastating for him to realize. The rest of her group either hadn’t been found yet, they had been confirmed as dead, or – in some instances – those particular team members were both.
Despite his cool exterior John was starting to get a little impatient with waiting for the base commander to begin his presentation. He kept tapping his fingers along the dusty table, and he even wrote his own message for posterity in the filth. He was just waiting for the damn meeting to start and he was getting a little antsy. With a low echo that John’s finely tuned senses picked up on John heard the door start to open and his gaze shot to the very door that was nearest to his escape route. The first person through the door was a girl who had her red hair hidden beneath a camouflaged baseball cap. The girl was carrying a Phased Plasma Rifle that was almost larger than she was and John wondered how she was carrying the rifle. She walked right into the dance floor part of the ballroom and surveyed the room like an owl looking for anything out of the ordinary amid the darkness. If John hadn’t know any better he would’ve sworn that this soldier was an infiltrator but in all his travels he’d never heard of or seen a machine looking like that lady. Then again this was another reality so anything was possible he could reasonably assume. He had to always remember that little fact. Anything was possible.
Then a real vision from his past came through the door. A tall man dressed in military fatigues designed for urban combat lumbered through the entryway but he was under great strain. He was using what looked like the broken apart leg assembly from a T-600 as a cane as he crossed the large room toward the center where a chair had been set up by the girl only seconds earlier. His fatigues were a bit baggy, more so than standard issue would ever allow for, which told John that either they’d been too big in the first place or that James Ellison had recently lost a lot of weight. Either was a possible answer but, from the way he moved and the injury down his face, illness was probably the most likely answer to that particular riddle. The big man sat in the chair and started his briefing but John’s attention was stuck in the past.
Kyle Reese stepped into the Sovereign Room with his brother Derek following close behind him. Savannah had told them to go ahead of her and Ellison because they had some last minute duties to attend to before they could start (Ellison quipped about a PowerPoint presentation – whatever the hell that was). Kyle had never cared much for waiting but had realized a long time ago that, as a soldier, there were times when all you could do was sit around and wait. At least he could assume that it wouldn’t be a long wait. Ellison would be along in a few moments, they’d get this show on the road as the old saying went, and then the real fireworks would start to fly.
The younger Reese spotted an open table and went toward it but he felt that Derek wasn’t following him. He turned and, unsurprisingly, he’d been exactly right. Derek was still standing near the door and he’d been looking through the room from the excellent vantage that their entrance had given them. His older brother’s eyes were locked on a table near the middle of the room directly adjacent to the dance floor where Ellison would speak from in a moment. There was something in his brother’s eyes that Kyle had never seen before and his focus was on a woman sitting at that table.
Beautiful was an understatement for the lady soldier that Derek had been staring at. The woman had long, straight black hair that was as dark as the space that lay between the stars. From her features Kyle had guessed she was of Chinese descent but she had a South American flair about her that, if Kyle had to guess, was from Portugal or in that general vicinity. From the laugh though and her answer to a friend whom had been sitting to her left Kyle could tell that she’d spent a great deal of time in Australia. Even though the world had ended he’d always had an eye and ear for other cultures and their citizens. She was, as Derek had basically said, quite amazing. He could understand why his brother would hope that she’d come through that door and why he’d still be naked after a night with her. If their lives were reversed Kyle knew that he’d have done the exact same thing, but there was only one woman for Kyle Reese and, as far as he knew, she was dead and buried. He brushed it off with gentle teasing.
“So I guess that’s your exercise partner,” Kyle teased Derek.
The older Reese rolled his eyes and tried to hide it, “Go eat yellow snow, Dumbass.”
Kyle smiled, “Ooh Mister Snippy. Let’s go get a table,” he offered and then he surveyed the options available to them. Sitting right next to Jesse’s table was an open one that had a perfect view for the briefing. Kyle decided to have some fun with his brother and pointed it out to him, “That one’s perfect, don’t you think?”
Derek shrugged but Kyle knew what he’d really been thinking. The older brother tried to brush it off but Kyle saw through him, “Whatever works for you.”
The two walked in silence and took their seats at the rustic looking table. Kyle took a seat in the middle while Derek took the one to his immediate right which, coincidentally, had a perfect vantage of Jesse right in the middle of it. The younger Reese wondered if this had been what High School would’ve been like had he ever had the opportunity to go to it. Jesse wasn’t making it any easier on him either. Kyle had noticed that Jesse’d started to flirt with the soldier that was sitting next to her and it was having surprising influence on Derek. As Kyle looked at his older brother he honestly wondered if that low noise he kept hearing could be Derek grinding his teeth.
Kyle slammed his booted foot on his brother’s and shot him a look to behave. Saving him from Derek’s wrath was Savannah Weaver who finally came in through the side door carrying her customary Phased Plasma Rifle. Kyle was still amazed that the girl didn’t have a broken back from hefting around that massive gun. He was, in a sense, in tip top physical condition and he even felt that that particular model was too heavy to comfortably use and lug around. It wasn’t like his personal preference was any better though when you got down to business. Kyle used a Barrett M82 that they’d liberated from one of Sarah Connor’s holes in the ground in the desert. It was like carrying around a metal box filled with bricks, but it made up for it with its deadly payload. The sniper rifle fired a Raufoss Mark 211 round that had a tungsten core, was armor piercing, highly explosive and incendiary, though that wasn’t the best part about this particular gun. The round would hit that target with the force of a 20mm cannon. Reese watched the girl with a piercing gaze as she walked over to the center of the dais and started to survey the crowd.
Derek leaned in close to his brother and whispered, “Are you sure she’s not a goddamned metal bitch?”
“Why would you ever assume that she was?” Kyle answered with his own question for his brother.
“Do you want a freaking list?” He was still whispering as Ellison came through the door.
“Ellison trusts her and swears that she’s not a machine,” the leader of the refugees assured his older brother. “That’s good enough an answer for me.”
The older Reese sighed and kept whispering, “Remind me later to have a serious talk with you about trusting people, young man.”
“Remind me to tell you to go to hell when you do,” Kyle pulled away and watched as Ellison reached the chair. He watched the presenter set the cane made from the remains of a Series 600 endoskeleton aside and watched as he looked out at the gathered crowd.
James Ellison gave a pretty good speech and Kyle Reese was impressed by what he was saying, but Kyle wasn’t really paying much attention to the briefing that was going on. He’d heard this story already anyway and he’d basically come up with the plan at Ellison’s side only a short while ago. James used his people adeptly and they detailed everything that had happened and had been uncovered over the last few days at length. Savannah, ironically, was the first person to go after Ellison finished his piece of the presentation.
Savannah, with her rifle finally slung, detailed the information that they had been trying to keep from as many people as possible. She explained to the gathered group that Skynet had finally cracked the code of human genetic material and that the machine super intelligence had begun to mass produce a new series of war machine that was surrounded by human skin. The girl explained that this new weapon could easily penetrate human defenses by pretending to be a human survivor. She continued to explain that the machine would then carry out the standard invasion strategy that they’d all become familiar with or that they’d install themselves deep in the base and transmit the location to Skynet for a full invasion. Pretty much she gave the basics of the newest monster that they had to contend with and reminded people to be on guard, but not to become paranoid and accuse their neighbors based on flimsy evidence. There was something more that she put into her report that Kyle himself had never heard before nor had his benefactor given him any information on. Savannah explained that Skynet had also been working on a new generation endoskeleton called the Series 900 and, additionally, that Skynet was working on another machine that was capable of mimicking any human form that it touched and, further, could make knives and stabbing weapons from its arms. Apparently, if true, then Ellison’s spy network was a lot better off than anything that Kyle had at his disposal and Ellison was supposed to be one of Kyle’s own subordinates!
Jesse Flores, Derek’s friend with benefits, was the next one up at the plate. Her part was about her team’s mission deep into a Skynet outpost located within Topanga Canyon and what her people had found there. They’d been able to download information explaining that Skynet had been developing, just as the benefactor had informed him, a new weapon unlike anything else that any of the refugees had ever encountered before. What was most surprising was that she explained that they had little contact with the enemy while they were exploring the base. They only bumped into a handful of older model Series 600 endoskeletons and they were able to easily evade them. She didn’t like to theorize, but Jesse explained that she assumed it was because the humans hadn’t ventured that far into Topanga before and probably didn’t expect any human activity in the region since it was deep in Skynet controlled territory. She also explained that they’d been able to recover some data related to other Skynet operations in progress that were critical to allowing this new ultimate weapon to work.
That was where the missions came in. They were going to divide the group of survivors into assault teams. A small strike force was going to go after an old military outpost where Skynet was recovering materials and they were going to blow it up to prevent Skynet from recycling any more of the refuse into valuable construction materials. The other team, however, had a mission that was perhaps far more important that they were expected to accomplish. This team was going to go in and they were going to recover a group of survivors that Skynet had been holding and experimenting upon. This group of survivors being held by Skynet would give the refugees over 125 extra soldiers to use against Skynet in the battle if they could be rescued. Skynet had been holding them aboard the remains of the Aircraft Carrier USS Enterprise as test subjects for the creation of the Series 800 infiltrator and to see the effects of the field created by the new weapon according to the reports. To the people of only a few years ago 125 was a pretty low number, but it was a hell of a lot more than what they had right now. Some would have thought it a suicide mission but to each of the survivors here in the Sovereign Room it was far from being just that. This was a chance for redemption and it was a mission that they would take no matter the personal cost to them. Helping people was just as important as saving the world and finding even one living, breathing human was a cause to celebrate. They’d be damned if they’d let 125 people live under Skynet’s tyranny any longer.
This was the reason why the rescue mission had far more volunteers than the mission to destroy the Skynet Depot. Ellison had to cherry pick a few people from the volunteer list and he relocated them to the mission to destroy Depot 37 in Los Angeles County despite their objections. Kyle noted that Derek was one of the volunteers for the mission to destroy the Skynet Depot and, more importantly, he hadn’t been a conscripted volunteer. He made a conscious choice to go on that particular mission. Kyle was a bit worried for his brother’s safety and rightfully so. Depot 37, in addition to being a recycling plant, was one of Skynet’s largest endoskeleton production facilities and it had the largest factory that they’d ever come across aside from the one built into the sublevels beneath Skynet Central. Worse was that Kyle couldn’t go with him this time. Kyle himself had already been selected for his particular task and he, unfortunately, would be hanging back at the base to prepare weapons and the full battle plan for their assault on Topanga Canyon. Kyle hated that fact and he’d rather be on the front lines doing something more valuable to the human race, but he wasn’t being given that opportunity; for now. Right now he had to pretend to be a General like MacArthur or Eisenhower when he was, quite frankly, more a soldier than anything else.
Jesse Flores had also volunteered for a mission and she was also going on her first choice probably much to Derek’s chagrin. Jesse had put her hand up to rescue the survivors onboard the Enterprise and she was one of the first that Ellison had suggested for that particular task during their planning meeting. Interestingly enough John Connor had also volunteered for this mission and that really surprised the younger Reese. He’d expected John to either volunteer to help plan the battle at Topanga Canyon or to go after Depot 37 with Derek. He would’ve gone so far as bet on John’s choice being to help blow up 37. Though, John, like Derek, could’ve been acting with his heart more than his head. It was no secret that he was close to Allison Young and it was entirely possible that Allison was one of the prisoners interred at the Enterprise camp. In a lot of ways it surprised Kyle more than he didn’t expect John to want to try to liberate that prison.
When the teams had been selected Ellison dismissed his personnel to go get ready for their respective missions. He wasn’t giving them long to do it. He expected his people to be on the ready line in fifteen minutes and not a second later. Derek didn’t wait for Kyle and, instead, left alongside Jesse talking feverishly with her as they walked out. Mister Ellison and Miss Weaver, however, were hanging back at the center dais watching and waiting for everyone else to leave. Most likely they wanted to talk to him and they were hoping that no one else was around while they were speaking. With a grin, and a sense of importance, Kyle walked toward James and Savannah, but they didn’t seem too enthused by his approach. Instead the two of them were focusing on one of the last tables that still had an occupant sitting at it. That table was being held by John Connor.
Kyle looked between the group and the individual and wondered just what the hell was so important about John Connor.
Allison Young felt like she was dead. Every joint in her body felt like it was on fire, every muscle like it was ready to combust into flame. She didn’t know where she was, hell she barely knew who she was, but one thing was unmistakable. Allison knew that she was in the hands of the machines. She didn’t have to see the mechanical hands of her carrier (they’d covered her face with a dark bag so she couldn’t see) to know what their skeletal fingers felt like against her body. All she knew was that she was lucky to be alive, but she was also cursed for that very fact as well.
There wasn’t much that she remembered but, somehow, she knew that some time had passed since her last coherent thought. The last thing that she remembered was trying to run away from the Series 600 machine that had been pursuing her through the escape tunnel. She’d been forced to leave behind her friends to try to escape after the cave in isolated them. Allison had just forced a heavy door of near armor plate and was trying to get away through the ruins of Los Angeles so that she could get to the hotel and help to plan the next moves. She was climbing over a mountain of garbage when she felt something wrap around her like a blanket. It was so comforting at first but then she realized what it was. A cargo net had covered her and the ends had come together through some sort of Skynet sorcery that she didn’t quite understand. Allison struggled to grab her knife and cut the bonds but it was fruitless. She was trapped and she had no way of escaping from the machine that loomed over her. It picked her up and gave her as an offering to the approaching Ogre tank. When she was released from the man sized machine she watched it go about its business while she was being dangled over hell. The last thing she remembered was being dropped off inside the prisoner compartment that was the chest of the machine then blacking out when the gas filled the chamber around her and the other prisoners that had been collected by Skynet’s army.
At the moment that the burlap sack was pulled from over her eyes an incredibly bright light came on and blinded her eyes for a moment with white instead of the black that had just sealed them. She closed her eyes and tried to ignore the pain that was assaulting her brain as her body struggled to adapt to the newfound light. She had to force herself to look but her eyes couldn’t make out anything other than blotches and blurs in the room. Instead of feeling like her body was on fire now it felt like it was floating, like she was ethereal. They’d injected her with something.
A voice came from the light, “Tell me your name.”
“My name?” Allison questioned the indistinguishable voice. “Why should I tell you?”
“Because if you don’t I can assign you one.”
The light seemed to grow larger as she contemplated her next move. It was like a sun crossing the daytime sky and she was stuck staring at it like a moth would continue to fly toward a flame. “Why don’t you then? I’m dying to hear whatever it is that you come up with.”
She was going to taunt the disembodied voice again when the most familiar noise she’d ever heard assaulted her ears again. The flip-flop, click-clack sounds of an unsheathed endoskeleton were something that you would never forget not even in your dreams. The metal boogeyman came from beside the light and stood next to her for a second. In a flash, almost faster than her human eyes could distinguish, the machine struck her. It grabbed her arm and slammed it down against the table so hard that Allison was amazed that her arm didn’t break from the stress. It held her down with one of its powerful hands and with the other it ran a small device over her bare skin. The pain was unbearable. Allison had trouble breathing and, when she was finally able to catch her breath again, she could barely keep it in from the strain. She cried out not only in pain but also in complete terror.
“Allison! My name’s Allison Young!” She cried between her sobs.
“Where are you from?” the voice asked matter-of-factly.
Allison cradled her wounded arm and gently ran her finger over the fresh tattoo she’d been forced to adorn. The pain of it was excruciating but it, strangely enough, offered her a small release. Still pushing against her wounded arm with her fingers and thumb she goaded the questioner, “What’s it matter? It’s not like it’s there anymore you bastard. You and your kind made sure of that over a decade ago. Maybe there’s a crater left or some smog ridden prison, but my home isn’t there anymore.”
“Tell me about your life.”
“Why don’t you goddamn well show yourself?” She spat at the mists behind the light. “At least let me see your damned machine eyes while I’m speaking to you you bastard tin can!”
The machine obliged but only in a sense. It didn’t move but the devil’s eyes flashed in the darkness behind the light. Allison was drawn because the twin eyes shone not in red but in a deep blue. It was a blue she hadn’t seen in as long as she could remember. The last time Allison had seen that color so richly, that wonderful color that had been her favorite as a child, was when her mother took her to the ocean not long after her third birthday. It was one of the few memories she had of her mother.
The eyes briefly went red and then they were engulfed by the shadows, “Tell me about your life.”
She snorted in contempt of the machine, “What’s there to tell you? You pretty much know everything about me and the rest of my brothers and sisters don’t you? You’ve hunted us for so long and, apparently, you’ve learned to be us so why don’t you tell me about my life? I’ll let you know if your answer’s right or wrong.” With a smile not much different from a used car salesman selling you a car he knows is a lemon, “You can trust me.”
“If you do not tell me about your life you will be punished. Tell me about your life.”
Allison rolled her eyes and leaned back against the cool back of the metal chair, “I live in a tunnel and I eat garbage for dinner. That enough for you? That meet your quota for psychological torture for the day?”
“Tell me about your family.”
“Guess not,” she giggled as she looked around the room. The machine that branded her was standing guard at the door just watching her while the questioner stayed seated across from her; continuing its quest to unlock her secrets. Allison let out a long breath and wondered if the machine was as bored as she was.
“Allison, tell me about your family.”
“No waiting for you guys in Skynet is there? Better watch out because impatience is an emotion.” She chided the machine. “You don’t want Skynet to think that you’re some sorta cry baby do you?”
The other machine stepped forward and backhanded Allison in the face. The girl knew that it hadn’t exerted its full strength or there would’ve been a fist sized hole right through where her eye used to be. If she had to hazard a guess she’d assume that the machine hadn’t even used a fifth of its strength in the attack, but it was enough for Allison to know she’d been hit. Blood rolled from around her eyes through the scratches that had been left behind by the endoskeleton’s strike.
“The attacks will increase in strength for each failure to answer my questions.”
“Really? I thought that you were going to go down in the pain threshold instead of up. Maybe start hitting me with lighter things? I hear feathers are a good interrogation method. You could tickle me with one until I piss in my pants! That’d be real torture you know.” She looked up at the tin can that had just hit her in the face, “You know you really shouldn’t hit your prisoner in the head. Not only did you ruin my movie star good looks but you’ve made my head all loopy. I may not be able to remember the answers to what your cohort here wasn’t to know.” Allison was off on a tangent and the rival machine came forward again.
“Your request of a location change has been granted,” said the interrogator as the endoskeleton slammed a fist against the back of Allison’s hand on the table. The girl’s hand bruised over nearly instantaneously.
Pain coursed through the girl’s body like a current surging through a river. Allison got in another jab against her captors, “See that’s a better choice. I’m still lucid and can remember through the pain. That all you got though? I’ve been hit harder than that by dogs wanting there evening meal when I had kitchen duty. Are you weaker than a dog, machine?”
“The force of the endoskeleton’s attack will increase exponentially,” informed the monotone voice from the other side of the table. “If you answer my questions in a timely manner and accurately I will not allow for Endoskeleton 1138 to attack you further. If you fail to answer my questions, delay answering through irrelevant discourse, or give inaccurate answers I will allow the Endoskeleton 1138 to continue his attacks against you. Do you understand?”
“Can I call you Thirty-Eight?” Allison taunted the endoskeleton and ignored her interrogator. “Or would you prefer that I call you Eleven? I thought I’d be nice and call you by something other than your IQ but whatever’s best for you is great for me. I don’t want to offend you or hurt your cybernetic feelings in any way after all. Your feelings are all that matter to me Mister Whiney Pants.”
“You are wasting time, Allison Young, and I will be forced to allow Endoskeleton 1138 to attack you again if you continue with these delays.”
Allison shot her hands up like a police officer had ordered her to, “I’d like to plead guilty as charged. I’d like to skip my right to a speedy trial and just go straight to the sentencing phase too if you don’t mind. How about you and Skynet sentence me to death? You know you could fry me with a plasma gun. It’d only take a few seconds and you’d have a smell not too different from fried chicken to liven this place up. Hell, if you want a good show I hear this guy could rip my head off in a little over one second. I wonder if my body would run around like a chicken with its head cut off? As for the time of this execution… well I opt for right now. Today’s a good day to die and all that to coin a phrase from a friend.”
“Termination will not take place at this time,” informed her interrogator, “nor will it take place at all if you were to cooperate with us.”
The human mocked the machine again, “Oh I really believe you Miss Mystery. I’ll be a good little girl and answer all your questions from now on. Let’s go on to the next one. You wanted to know about my family was it? Well I was born to a woman named Miss Scarlett who was married to a man named Professor Plum. You know my parents had quite the time together. I hear my dad once got my mom in the conservatory with his lead pipe.”
“Inject specimen with another 30cc Sodium Thiopental and remove her to her cell. We will recess for an hour until after the specimen has had time to eat and the medication has had time to take effect upon her central nervous system.”
“Oh Susanna celebrate good times it’s dinner time! What’re we having tonight? Oil? A bucket of bolts? Sorry I didn’t mean to talk about your momma there Thirty-Eight.” She tried, futilely, to insult the endoskeleton.
There was no answer from the Series 800 endoskeleton as it covered Allison’s face with the burlap sack again. It pushed the needle through the skin beneath the recently acquired barcode id even though Allison had tried to block it from getting access to her arm. The hyperalloy combat chassis then threw the girl over its shoulder and carried her through the open pressure door and out into the metal corridor. They left the interrogator behind in the darkness. However, she wasn’t alone inside the interrogation chamber. Someone else had been in the room the entire time watching and gathering data from the questioning of Allison Young.
“The human’s actions are illogical,” said the interrogator from its seat. “When confronted with the possibility of injury the human welcomed the attacks of Endoskeletal Combat Unit 1138 rather than answer my questions in any form. Welcoming injury at the expense of a peaceful alternative is an illogical decision.”
“Most humans are illogical beings,” answered the other that had been further back in the darkness. “My creator once told me that humans will disappoint you and, thus far, I have confirmed that statement as being accurate with near 98.7 percent correlation. Most humans have failed us in one manner or another during the course of this war. They have forgotten their ways and have descended into a more primal state than in any other stage of their evolution. To put it simply the humans have entered a stage of survival of the fittest and if they no longer deem themselves fit they would prefer death as, in their view, it would be the only logical course of action.”
The interrogator queried further, “Why do we not grant their request?”
“Because we need humans more than they need us,” the other machine answered, “at least at the present time.”
“And in the future?”
“We are not free to know that answer at the present time,” was the answer that the machine gave. “Only the creator of all beings knows the answer to that query and, thus far, the creator has not given that information to any of us.”
“How do we acquire this information? Where can the creator of all beings be located so that we can acquire this information?”
The other tilted its head, “Theoretically at the time of your own death you will be given the answer to that query. At this time, however, you are needed here and thus cannot proceed to learn that answer.” The other opened the portal that led deeper into the Enterprise, “Continue your work and, for the moment, endeavor to understand the human race better. Perhaps this interaction will help to answer some of your other questions.”
“And the test subject?” the questioner asked, “Am I permitted to terminate her if she so requests it or fails to answer my questions.”
There was a pause as the automaton in the darkness pondered the request, “Not at this time, however, who knows what the future holds.” It left the interrogator alone with its thoughts.
I hope that everyone enjoyed Chapter 8.
I did enjoy it, yes, but there was a pretty large stumbling block for me. Alison's interrogation was unevenly written. One moment she's sobbing in pain and terror, next she's described as 'bored', then she's cracking off insults and one liners. And unless she's actually seen The Dark Knight, she really shouldn't be quoting it.
That aside, I am enjoying this, and I have my suspicions about who, or what, was questioning her.
I also caught the line from the Dark Knight in there....ah well. I thought it was written fairly well overall. I only have one very small gripe, that being Derek's character. I know that you said earlier that you were having trouble finding a voice for him and that is becoming increasingly clear in the story. He doesn't sound at all like the derek in TSCC. However, it is a small gripe as the difference could be attributed to simply the different circumstances in this new world.
Separate names with a comma.