Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by nx1701g, Jul 22, 2009.
It'll be interesting. Not everything is as it seems.
I'm going to give a week for people to get caught up. Chapter 11 will be posted Monday.
nah forget that, post it now!!
^ Only a short while now.
The Aircraft Carrier USS Enterprise had been a pioneer that led to the modern United States Navy. It was a prototype for the modern day carrier and the first vessel ever to be equipped with a nuclear reactor as its power cell. All vessels tried to live up to its name and strength. Plus it had history to fall back on as well. The ship was named in honor of the most decorated combatant in World War II and men (and eventually women) all fought to be assigned aboard it. Its corridors would be crowded, its walls echoing with murmurs of footfalls and talking. It was the perfect example of the military strength of the United States.
That had all changed in the days since Judgment Day. Now the Enterprise was as quiet as a tomb and nearly as cold as one too. The once immaculately clean and polished bulkheads were now dark and grungy looking. Rust had taken root in the walls in more than one place and there was a gentle mist that hung in the air like a fog. Antique technologies were scattered throughout the walls with gages and needles broken or simply turned off. Even the indicator lights and computer monitors were shut off and remained as dark as the night-time sky. The only sign of modern technology was a thin red strip that ran along each of the walls for as far as the human eye could see and probably even beyond. What it was, exactly, was anyone’s guess but it was probably some sort of scanning technology designed to watch for any escapees from the Skynet prison because no one was crazy enough to break into a Skynet Work Camp. That would be suicide.
Well one man was crazy enough to break in and that was John Connor, but he wasn’t alone on this suicide mission. Throughout the ancient warship were teams of refugees who were searching for the prisoners so that they could escape and be a part of the war at Topanga Canyon. Their numbers were low but that was an advantage. Skynet would be watching for a large scale invasion force but small teams may not be considered a threat by the supercomputer’s processors because of their limited numbers. It may even have been enough that they could manage to rescue the prisoners and get out in time before Skynet could launch its counteroffensive against them.
They had to be careful though and they had to be patient. They’d been stalking through the ship’s hallways for well over an hour now and they were still trying to evade Skynet patrols and detection. It had been a bit harder to enter than John had originally anticipated through. There had been several portals built into the outer hull of the ship just above the waterline and they each had a small computer panel positioned next to them that allowed John access to the machine’s mainframe. The door locks weren’t a priority system so Skynet may not have even cared about his intrusion into its cybernetic brain. His hacking skills had become a bit rusty through the years since they hadn’t been used; however, he’d been able to get into the root command matrix and interface with the central processor. That had been the easy part because of the safeguards that kept popping up around the primary code language. Oddly it wasn’t he who beat them. Jesse Flores, the damn Luddite that tried to isolate him from the machines in the past, came up with the idea to use a recursive algorithm to override the system and release the lockdown protocols. At first he thought her idea was crazy, then he wondered how she’d known about such a process (before he remembered she’d served on the last surviving nuclear submarine), then he employed her idea because it was his only real hope of this mission being a success. It worked and they were able to get through the doors and into the belly of the beast.
Once they were inside John had found one of the wall mounted workstations and was able to hack it using the lock pick that Ellison had given him before he left. It was a cobbled together mess created from an old USB Flash Drive, but it worked and he was able to cross through the barriers with it and into the prisoner datafiles. Knowing where it came from hadn’t made it easier to use. Catherine Weaver, or rather that liquid metal bitch, had constructed it when she came back through time on the mission to build John Henry. Ellison had explained, before John left, that he and Savannah had found it in the machine’s personal effects not long before they left the mansion that Weaver had been using. She had known that the war was inevitable and took steps to survive. Through it they had everything that they needed to access the machine.
The carrier had a lot of new doors and walls put up since it had been used by the Nuclear Navy. Skynet locked off areas like the bridge (which had been replaced by an artificial intelligence processor) and the engine room so that the ship couldn’t be sabotaged or turned into a bomb by the humans. It changed the map a bit to make a more maze like structure so that escaped prisoners would have trouble making their way off of the ship if they got out of their cages. Plus it made a full scale prison complex that even included a zoo on what had once been the aircraft storage bay beneath the flight deck. The collection of aircraft had been pretty much pushed off the sides of the deck and into the bay preventing Connor from liberating them – not like he had pilots anyway. The carrier still had birds though waiting to leave the nest. Five Aerial Hunter Killers were parked on the flight deck to protect against an enemy invasion. That was how John knew that Skynet hadn’t perceived him to be a threat yet.
Connor downloaded the maps and put together a route for his teams to take to get to the prisoners. Each group was going a different way to decrease the likelihood that they’d all be captured or killed. Jesse Flores was leading the first team and they were taking the most indirect route to the prisoners. Earl Wise, as much as John hated giving him leadership of anything, was taking the second team and they were using the route that would take up the most time. The third team, led by Theo Dietze, was taking the route that would lead them directly there even though they had to go through the middle of the slaughterhouse to get there. They were all armed and ready with their plasma rifles, Dietze was actually carrying the large scale plasma gun that was normally attached to the back of their truck though. At first John worried he could be a machine, but the dog Jesse brought along seemed to like him. That was good enough for Connor to give the man a pass.
While the others went after the prisoners John found his own route, but it wasn’t the prison near the top of the ship wasn’t his destination. While he was scanning through the hard drives he found evidence that Allison Young was one of the prisoners that was being held here. Predictably, how he didn’t know, Skynet had identified her as a priority target instead of being just a minor nuisance like the other humans. She was being held in interrogation under the supervision of an infiltrator according to the records that was close to breaking her down. John downloaded the course that he needed to take and set out to find Allison on his own leaving the others to their own mission. He was being stupid for going it alone, he knew that, but this was something that he had to do on his own. He owed Allison that.
“Don’t form attachments to your soldiers, John,” he heard his mother’s voice over and over again. “Don’t let yourself get too close to your team. You’ll be leading them into harms way everyday and you can’t be objective if you’re thinking with your heart and not your head.”
That was what he was doing too. John was thinking with his heart because he wanted to save Allison; he wanted to be her hero. His mother would be yelling in his ear for making such a mistake, even after her personal realization of the value of human life following the Battle of the Cyberdyne Laboratory, but it was just something that he had to do alone. That was why he went for her on his own. If he was separate from the others he wasn’t risking their lives on his own personal mission to save Allison. He didn’t have to worry about causing the death of his troops because of his own mistakes and his own foolishness. This was his mission to succeed in or his to utterly fail in. No more and no less.
He’d had some trouble though during his trek. Every so often he’d come across a machine that was blocking his path or seemed to be on patrol. Most of the tin cans had been on standby, like Carter that time he was locked inside Depot 37, but there were a few active units that were watching and waiting for any threats near the more critical locations. So far he’d been able to evade or escape before the machines could sound any alarms, hiding more than once even though it was the last thing on his mind to do. John hadn’t destroyed any of the machines and his plasma rifle was still slung over his shoulder. He’d only fight if he absolutely had to because he didn’t want the enemy to go to active mode. If the Enterprise went to alert then this was all over. His mistakes would condemn everyone to die.
The prophesized leader of humanity put his back to the wall and pushed along it as he reached a corridor intersection. He found a small hide away and stood in the shadows of it trying to hide while he found his bearings. It was futile as a hiding place because the machines could see him in the darkness thanks to their infrared vision, but it was a habit he formed in the jungles of Central America that was hard to shake. He checked his position on the old palm pilot that he had attached to the back of his hand and found he wasn’t too far from the interrogation rooms that the machines had been keeping Allison in. He peeked around the corner and saw that the hallway was clear so he slinked around the corner and down the long metal tunnel. He watched every step trying to avoid making too much noise that could attract unwanted attention. The red strip was pulsing along side of him and, he hoped, it too was still in standby or just ignoring him. Maybe it was some combination of both?
Turning around another corner he spotted the door at the end of the hall. It was an old styled pressure door like you’d see on a movie and wouldn’t expect to have seen on something that was as new as the Enterprise at the time of the fall. There was no guard standing watch outside the room like he’d assumed there would be either, but that didn’t mean much of anything. Allison was supposed to be a high profile target so Skynet would have wanted her to be under lock and key. The machine could still be around and even sneaking up behind him right now to deliver the kill strike.
It had to be a trap.
And John didn’t care if it was. He still took care while he made his way to the door, but he forced it open as quickly as he humanly could. Connor lifted the locks, spun the handle to release the seals, though he stopped before pushing it open. He worried, like a flash of thought, that there could be a machine standing on the other side waiting to terminate him. What would he do if he saw Uncle Bob standing there staring him down the minute that the door slid open? Hell what could he do? He’d have only a couple of seconds to get his plasma rifle in place and pull the trigger. The machine would already be on him by the time he got the gun over his shoulder. Cameron once told him that she could rip the head off a human in 1.8 seconds if she had to, Uncle Bob could probably do it even faster.
Next time he’d remember to have his gun ready from the get go. This time was a different story. He pushed the door open and stepped over the lip and into the small and dark room. It was cold, just like the rest of the ship, but it was more than just that. It was so cold in this room that it nearly chilled his entire soul to ice. Half of the lights illuminated leaving only his side of the room in the light and the other remained plunged in the darkness. The table and chairs were metal and there was a stage light pointed at the other side of the room. John walked over to the light and stared at it for a moment or two wondering if this were the best course of action. His head screamed run but his heart screamed to flip the switch. He did.
His heart broke at what he saw. On the other side of the table was the broken body of Allison Young laying slumped over the table. John ran to her side and checked her knowing full well what he was going to find there. He pushed her up so her back was against the chair – metal bracelets fell to the floor and clinked and clattered against the steel floor. He checked her pulse but found nothing there just as he assumed. John had already known that from looking into her cold, lifeless eyes. Ever since he knew her, her eyes had been warm, welcoming, and they held a spark of life deep inside of them. Allison’s eyes were cold, desolate, and lifeless. In many ways they were the eyes of Cameron.
“If she wanted me dead,” he heard the voice of his Uncle Derek from 2009 while they saw in the truck, “I’d be dead.”
John held her hand in his and looked down at the barcode tattoo on her arm. He ran his fingers along the fresh ink and the raised burn. Part of her hand had been broken, he could feel it, and her face was covered in wounds. The machines had toyed with her; they played with her as they tried to get their information from her. There were puncture marks from where they’d injected her and the obviousness of her brutal wounds. Finally the machine must have snapped, broken down from having been never told what it wanted. Her neck was the clue for this. There were marks all along it – bruises that he’d seen before in his youth.
“Cameron how could you,” he whispered to himself as he rested his head against Allison’s lifeless one. “Allison I’m sorry. This is my fault. This is all my fault. I’ll find the machine that did this to you and I’ll make it pay for what it did. I swear it with every fiber of who I am. I’m going after it and I won’t rest until it’s a melted slag pile.”
Three years ago John Connor had gone to the future in search of the central processor of Cameron – which had been stolen by John Henry so that he could be footloose and fancy free. This had been John’s mission since he arrived with Weaver. He wanted his friend back and that was all that mattered to him. Now it was like a switch had been flipped inside his head. Allison Young was dead and he knew from the wounds on her neck that Cameron was the one that had done it. It was exactly like the day that Cameron malfunctioned and disappeared on him in downtown Los Angeles. He found her after she broke into a house and nearly killed the girl who lived there. These were the very same wounds as that girl had on her neck. Sadly it looked like Cameron had perfected her technique.
Part of him knew that Cameron couldn’t help herself though. She was a machine and every action was carried out because that was exactly what Skynet had wanted to have happen. It had even happened in the past because of one of her program errors after she was supposedly loyal to him. She’d hunted him down and tried to kill him after announcing her undying love for him. He, his mother, Derek, and Charley were going to burn her but he just stared at her chip over and over during the long car ride in the back of Charley’s ambulance. He couldn’t help himself and he restored her. When she was awake he handed over his gun to her and challenged her base program to protect him by asking if she planned to kill him. She chose not to. Back then she could override her choices and not carry out the orders of Skynet. Back then. Today was an entirely different story. With Skynet yelling in her ear that she had to carry it out she couldn’t ignore her master’s wishes; she couldn’t make the choice on her own to ignore her nature. It was like the scorpion and the frog. She would kill no matter what she thought on the matter. This was his brain talking to him.
The other side of him, the majority, didn’t care abut what his brain had to say. Cameron had murdered a woman in cold blood against everything that he’d known about her. In the past Cameron had assured him that the machines weren’t cruel and they didn’t kill on a whim, but this seemed to counter that statement. John wanted to see Cameron as a broken mass of circuits and metal at his feet for her crime against him. He wouldn’t rest until he had accomplished that, until Allison’s death had been avenged. When every last one of those metal bastards was broken at his feet then he’d have finally found peace. Allison would finally have found peace. This was the heart of John Connor talking and it was stronger than his head.
He undid his plasma rifle and slid the activation stud into place to bring the weapon to full power. Indicator lights blinked until they’d all gone to green and were solid instead of blinking. The rifle was ready to kick machine ass and that was the only thing on John’s mind. John tightened his grip on the barrel of the rifle and kept his trigger finger on the button ready to fire. He turned, fully intending to storm through the ship and destroy every last machine that he saw, when he was stopped by a shape in the doorway. He pointed the gun at the shape and held his finger right on the trigger fully prepared to fire. Then the body stepped forward.
“I was wondering when you’d show up,” John spat at the shadowy figure next to the door.
The cold water was shockingly refreshing as it slammed into Derek Reese’s face. It encircled his entire head as it dripped downward and pooled on the wooden floor. The water was refreshing yet chilling as Derek struggled to regain his bearings after having been embraced by sweet unconsciousness. He had no idea where he was or how he got here but he was certain of one thing and one thing only. He was a prisoner of the machines. There was no denying it, there was no escaping it. Skynet had him in its clutches.
His ears alerted him to the approaching Series 600 infiltrator even before his eyes did. His nose was the second to tell him that there was a machine nearby because of the distinctive smell. You never forgot the smell of the rubber skinned infiltrators. It was sickly sweet. The metal reached down for him and grabbed him by the arm. Derek tried to pull away but the metal chains made his attempts futile in every sense of the word. The infiltrator held tight with one hand as it ran the laser scan tattoo reader over his forearm. Where once there had been skin there was now the distinctive barcode of the Skynet Work Camp tracking system.
Derek screamed in pain as the machine finally let him go. He dropped to the floor and stared at the fresh wound on his arm. It felt like his entire arm had been dipped in flame and, in a sense, it had been. The laser was specifically designed to keep the pain to a minimum, but that didn’t stop it from overloading every pain center in his body. He crawled along trying to escape from the pain and get the wound into the water, but it’d already been absorbed into the rotting wood. The machine kept up its circuit behind him ignoring Derek completely as he struggled with his pain. Derek was, simply, no threat so the tin can would pay him no mind. The weapons he’d had hidden on his person, a dagger just incase a Series 600 ever did capture him that he could slam into the ventilation system to override its mobility subroutines, were all gone. The magic trick of the string just hadn’t worked this time against the thoroughness of the machine’s searches.
Reese pushed himself up a bit and looked around to figure out where he was, but all he could determine was that he was in what looked like a fancy foyer probably once having belonged to a movie star or one of the upper class. There were several other people besides him chained up too and he recognized every last one of the faces surrounding him. Every one of them had been part of the team sent to take out the Skynet facility at Depot 37 except for one: Timms. Timms had been captured when they tried to escape from the sewers in downtown Los Angeles. No one knew what had happened to him, Allison, or Sumner. Since they weren’t anywhere to be found Derek assumed the worst but at least his friend had survived.
In the distance the machine stopped over the body of a woman, Catherine Luna if he remembered correctly, and it stared at her for a moment. Derek pushed himself to try to break free, going so far as even considering chewing off his own arm like a trapped animal, but he wouldn’t be free in time to help. The machine bent down and undid the restraints on the woman by pulling them right out of the wall where they were fastened. She slumped over like a rag doll and lay with her back firm against the floor. The infiltrator bent forward and grabbed her by the arm. It lugged her through the sea of captured bodies to a small doorway in the corner like she weighed nothing at all. Derek wasn’t able to see where it took her after it pulled her through the white door. Nevertheless, he heard something memorable. He heard the sounds of a body being pulled down stairs.
“How long you been here?” Came a voice chained nearby.
Derek looked up to see the nauseated face of Timms before him. He looked at his own tattoo like a professor looking over his student’s prized experiment. It didn’t hurt as much but it was still as red as a tomato in between the black lines. He slowly exhaled as it started to hurt a bit again, “I don’t know.”
Timms rolled onto his back and spoke slowly. He stared at the ceiling and felt like he was going to puke, “I think I may have just got here.”
“No you were here when I first woke up,” Reese burst his bubble. “Probably about a day since we were found out.”
“Did you get everyone to safety? The rest of us?” Timms questioned.
Reese swallowed hard, “Not everyone. A lot were missing. The endos got em we assumed. You, Sumner, Allison, a handful of others.”
“The tunnel we were in caved in around us,” Timms said calmly. “Our route to the extraction site was cut off. Allison had already made it through and she was supposed to go get help.”
“We never saw her,” Derek admitted. “The machines probably found the escape route and mined it or something. We fought a few of them in the tunnels when we tried to get Kyle out.”
Timms groaned in pain, “What’d they hit us with Reese?”
“Some big new goddamned metal,” Reese informed. “It looked human,” he looked for the Series 600 that had been walking around but it still wasn’t back. “Not like the bastard that has us here. This thing looked like you or me. It had human skin. It even smelled like it was sweating”
“Was it a sympathizer? Did one of us become a traitor?” He asked in shock.
“No,” it was reassuring if creepy. “This thing may have looked like it was one of us but it was all metal. We fought with it and it put up a hell of resistance before we finally smashed it inside the generator room. It took a damn grenade blast and Connor and I shooting it to hell before it finally stopped chasing us down.”
The other prisoner started to curl up, “Please tell me you’re joking.”
“I wish I were,” and he was genuine when he said that.
“Reese if those things look like us…”
The ground beneath them started to shake wildly as a roar like thunder arose outside of the building. Old photographs and knickknacks that had survived the fall of mankind fell to the ground and shattered. Through the skylight above them a spotlight as bright as a thousand suns shone through the multicolored pane of glass. Each of the men curled up to try to hide themselves, but the machine knew where they were and everything about them from its supposedly noninvasive scan. It hovered for a minute and then the light stopped shining. The thunderous roar became more distant as the massive airship flew away.
But the chills hadn’t stopped with the departure of the Hunter Killer. In the distance Derek heard something that was strangely familiar. It was far back and hard to remember like the traces of a dream that had long ago been forgotten in the hectic waking world. He tried to listen but Timms was falling deeper into his own paranoia.
“What was that now? Why are they toying with us like this? Why didn’t they just kill us and get it over with? Why did they lock us up in here when it’d just be easier to plasma gun us and get it over with?”
“Calm down,” Derek ordered the younger man in a voice that was soft, yet strangely powerful. “You’re not helping anyone by what you’re doing so just stop it and listen.” He put his ear to the ground. “Do you hear that?”
Timms looked at him, “I hear the Reaper coming and he sounds like he has servos for knees.”
Derek ignored it, “I hear music. I mean I hear real music.”
It wasn’t Timms that answered but rather it was another of Skynet’s prisoners by the name of Sayles who spoke. “There’s a room downstairs in the basement.” He said it with quiet fear in his voice. “No one knows what happens down there. I don’t think that anyone wants to know what happens in there.”
Derek Reese, as he heard Frederic Chopin’s Nocturne in C-sharp minor, really did want to know what happened there and he was sure he’d soon find out.
Andre Sumner sat inside his cage in, well wherever the hell he was, watching all the people who surrounded him. He didn’t know exactly how long he’d been here but he was sure that it’d been longer than a day. His stomach was killing him and his head felt like someone had stuck ice picks into his temples, but he wouldn’t show his pain. He wouldn’t let the machines see that they were winning against him, that they were coming close to breaking him, but it was getting harder and harder to keep it from showing. He’d always been afraid of tight spaces, ever since being a kid, and this was his ultimate version of hell. He tried every little trick that he’d learned over the years to counteract his fears just as Doctor Silberman had told him after he found him in the broken down remnants of Pescadero State Medical Hospital. He’d imagined that he’d had the key in his pocket to open the lid at any time, that he was in a wide open field, and even that the bars didn’t exist. So far they’d worked but they were growing less and less effective with each passing moment.
The company that he was keeping wasn’t helping much either. On his left when he faced the cage door were two of the kids that he’d tried to protect by getting them through the tunnel and to safety. Each of them had been crying for so long that he couldn’t recall even a second that the children hadn’t been in tears. They begged him to help them to escape but he wasn’t a Superman and he couldn’t break free easily. Behind him was another kid who had been stalking around his cage and had even thrown himself against the door hoping to break free despite the impossibility of it. Then the other side had what really frightened him. A massive black bear, another of Skynet’s many test specimens, stalked around roaring every few moments. It was hungry and it’d eat anything that it managed to come in contact with. Sumner wondered if that included metal.
God how he missed the Bayou. Out there all he had to worry about were the occasional Croc and Gator, never a bear or a massive machine. Well the machines he did have to worry about but he knew that terrain well enough that it was easier for him to hide in it. In the distance he heard another scream as a machine forced another one of the prisoners out into the open so that it could go down to the processing facility. Since he’d awoken he knew of about twenty such people who had similar fates. The man across from his cage was one such person. A Series 700 endoskeleton ripped the man right out of his cage and pulled him – kicking and screaming – through the aisle toward the pressure door leading deeper into this ship they were on.
Andre was afraid that he was going to be next, but there was something that he was even more afraid of: what happened next. Nearly every last one of those prisoners that Skynet took deeper into the facility would eventually come back through without that spark of life that all humans had shared. They marched forward in full black military fatigues and carried plasma rifles in their hands. It was like those people had gone from being men, women, and even children to being machines. They were like zombies in a sense in the way that they moved and the way that they were acting. These people didn’t care about the people they passed and simply ignored their cries for help. Sumner would rather die than live like that.
He brushed his fingers through his hair trying to drown out his own fears of being so confined. From nearby he heard something that made him feel even worse. The pressure door that was nearest to him was released and the door flew open and bounced off the bulkhead. He knew that, this time, they were coming after him. He swallowed hard and watched as the shapes came through the doorway that led deeper into the carrier. They did come for him but it wasn’t what he expected. It was a group of men and women in tattered clothes carrying assault rifles. A few of the people he recognized and they were welcome faces.
“Ain’t you a sight for sore eyes,” said the Southerner. The bear in the cage beside him roared as loudly and fiercely as he could while Sumner held onto the rails, “Get me da hell outta here!”
Theo Dietze didn’t seem to welcoming of his old friend and kept the plasma rifle pointed at him. “How do I know that you’re you?”
“’Cuse me?” Sumner didn’t particularly understand.
“The machines can look like us now,” the former sailor revealed, “how do I know that you’re not one of them?”
Sumner wondered that himself. In those simple words all of his concerns about those prisoners that came back were answered. They weren’t themselves but rather they were machines that were wearing their skin. The thought of a machine wearing his skin made it crawl like it was filled with millions of bugs beneath the surface. Just the thought that there could be a replica of him out there murdering people was enough to make him vomit then and there.
Dietze stepped back from the cage and pushed the gun down to his side, “Good enough for me. Come on let’s get these people out of here.” He found the door control and pushed the release command.
The prisoner escaped from the sealed compartment and joined his friends at the computers, “What can ya tell me bout all dis? Where are we? What happened ta everyone?”
“We’re aboard the derelict USS Enterprise,” Dietze answered his question. “This was one of the first ships converted when Skynet took over control of the United States Navy. We’re all that’s left and we’re going to get the hell out of here or die trying.”
“It’s only da four of ya?” Sumner was surprised by so few. “Dis was all that Reese could spare?”
The soldier’s men started rounding up the other survivors – 115 according to the census – while he addressed his friend. “There are two other teams here trying to get everyone out and John Connor’s searching for a survivor that Skynet took to another compartment. An Allison Young – I think that’s what they said was her name was.”
“Allison’s here?” He said incredulously. “Dat girl didn’t get out? She was ‘head of me and Timms. Did she try ta get us out when she got caught?”
“Who knows,” he said quickly. “Twenty questions is over, we have to go!” The sailor gave his M9 sidearm to the other man, “Make ‘em count!”
Andre Sumner took the pistol and chambered a round. He knew that the machines wouldn’t be stopped by a simple handgun, but it felt good to have his hand on a weapon. It almost felt as good as being outside of that cage he’d been trapped in. Holding the weapon at the ready he followed behind Dietze and his men as they headed back toward the escape hatch and to freedom. Sumner, however, had one thing on his mind. What happened to his friend Allison?
Spoiler: DO NOT READ UNTIL AFTER YOU READ CHAPTER 11 - PART 1
“I was wondering when you’d show up,” John Connor spat at the shadowy figure next to the door.
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to startle you,” Jesse Flores said from her place right inside the door. “When you went off on your own I became concerned so I gave command of my team to Barnes and I sent them ahead to the prison complex while I followed you here. I thought that you could use my help with your search for whoever you were after.” Jesse looked at the dead body at the desk, “I’m sorry that you were too late to rescue your friend.”
John looked at Allison’s shell, “We were too late when this damn war started. Let’s get back to work; I want to get those prisoners off this barge and on the lines. We need them all to be ready when we go after our next target.” He stormed toward the door but Jesse walked into the room and next to the remains of Allison Young.
“What the hell are you doing?”
Jesse looked at the body, “It is unfortunate what happened to this young girl. She had so much promise; so much life in her yet the world destroyed her. She could have been anything when she was born – a doctor, teacher, lawyer – but she was forced to become a soldier in a war that none of us want to fight. I suppose that you understand that better than anyone.”
“Excuse me?” Connor questioned his Uncle’s lover, “but why the hell are we standing around in here when the fight’s out there? Why are we lamenting the dead when we have other battles to fight? We can mourn her death later, right now though we have to get out there and make sure that there are no more dead.”
“There will always be dead in war,” Flores reminded him. “People won’t stop dying because the great John Connor told them that they can’t.”
John felt his grip tightening around the rifle. He hated this woman so much for so long and her words were cutting through him like a warm knife through butter. One shot from the plasma rifle was all that he’d need; one shot would leave a hole in her chest the size of a grapefruit. He wanted to pull the trigger but he kept reminding himself that this wasn’t the same person and that they needed every soldier if they were going to win this war. It was still hard not to pull the trigger.
“I don’t expect them to,” answered John. “And there will be a lot more people who die during this, but for right now I want to make sure that there are still people living when that final battle comes. Do you understand me?”
“They all die for you,” answered the woman, “We all die for you.”
Connor’s eyes grew wide and his jaw dropped. He felt a knot forming deep inside his stomach, “Excuse me?”
“Perhaps it is time for a proper introduction,” Jesse tilted her head and smiled in a way that was unnatural. Her entire body began to shimmer as if she were in a convulsion. The skin broke down into a silvery liquid with waves running along the surface like water in the ocean. Where once she had been Jesse Flores now was the fiery red haired Catherine Weaver. She stood before him, still holding tightly onto the plasma rifle, but with only a single hand instead of the two normally needed to carry such a weapon. Her clothing became a solid white dress that looked like it was freshly made by a fashion designer from before the fall.
“I need your help,” she said in her lyrical voice. “If we are to win this war you and I need to focus on our target. Will you join me?”
“I’ve needed your help since the very moment that you drug me to this time!” Connor yelled at the machine. “I’ve had to learn on my own, think on my feet, and I’ve been fighting this war alone and on my own terms. Why the hell should I help you?”
The metal bitch stood there for a moment in silence as she considered the words that she wanted to use. “Because, John, you’ve been focusing on the wrong target since the very beginning. We both have. The game has changed and you and I have a mutual enemy that we need to focus on.”
“I know,” Connor said with sarcasm laced words. “I think everyone knows Skynet’s the enemy.”
“No,” she corrected him, “the enemy is not Skynet. Our mutual enemy, John, is John Henry and his followers…”
John felt his world sink while Catherine Weaver told him the entire story.
This is the best song to listen to while reading this section:
Characters: John Connor, Theo Dietze, Jesse Flores, Derek Reese, Jonathan Sayles, Andre Sumner, Eduardo Timms
I really hoped you hadn't killed Allison. Ah,well, its a rough world. Good chapter-and what is Skynet using to change those people?
^ I had considered letting her live in this reality, but I saw more storyline possibilities by having John find her dead and instantly assuming it was Cameron who did it.
I'm really wondering what people thought of the part I have under the spoiler tags. The way I see it what I decided to do will either:
A. Increase interest in wondering just what happened to change things.
B. Decrease interest because of what happened.
^ Well I can't speak for everyone, but it'd option A for me.
All the same though....Oh my God, they killed Allison! You bastards!
Just read spoiler-Holy crap! You got me with that one! When do we get to hear the story?
^ I am working on it and plan to continue writing tonight after I get back from the hospital. But it probably won't be posted until, at the earliest, Tuesday of next week.
Did anyone actually read the spoiler covered section with the music playing? I typically write with the soundtracks playing and it seemed most appropriate.
I read the spoiler section and I'm mad at you now.
(Seriously, not what I was hoping for from that character ... but I'm holding out hope that the one who revealed it is lying. Probably futile hope, but oh, well.)
In any case, you're writing an interesting continuation here. Keep going ...
Wow that was an intense chapter including the spoiler. Allison...damn. Curious question though for you NX...despite that this is prose, are you constructing this like a TV season? Are we going to run into the dreaded season finale and have to go through a period of waiting or is this truly prose and you're just going to continue writing until your satisfied with a conclusion?
Never know what I'll do... I let you think that you know what's going to happen and then go another route most days. The next chapter though will be (as I'm calling it) Weaver's story and will explain a lot.
When I had started this this was going to be the first part of a three part story (Second Chance, Burn it to the Ground, What I've Done), but my online time has been significantly limited due to a new position I've recently taken - which is partially why the entries have gone to once a week while they used to be at least two a week. I've rewritten the ending of this story - the ending is always one of the first things I write then connect the two parts - to make a good drop off point for the story, but it would allow me to return at a later date.
Interesting twist to the story and I for one loved it! I must say I can't wait for the new chapter and I am startled to find out that John Henry is actually the bad guy in this one. However, it does appear to contradict an earlier portion of the story after allison's first interrogation where someone (assuming it was JH) basically stated that humans had made it harder to win the war because they were so unpredictable. However, it does make sense that JH would know who allison young was as opposed to skynet.
Just wanted to let everyone know they can expect the next section on Wednesday/early Thursday.
It'll be explained soon .
PART 1 - CHAPTER 12
John Connor had grown to loathe Jesse Flores because of everything that she’d done in the past. He had realized a long time ago that she was only doing what she thought was right, just as Future John had been doing, but he never approved of her methods. She used an innocent girl – no more than a child – in her own selfish scheme to make John lose his faith in the machines and Cameron in particular. All along she’d planned to brutally murder the girl when John got close enough to her and then she’d make it seem like Cameron had done it so that John would send his guardian away or maybe even terminate her himself. When John found out the truth of the murder he gave her a pass but, truthfully, he knew that Derek would kill her because of what she put him through by her actions. In a sense he was no better than she was and would have to live with his demons while she never would. That still didn’t stop him from hating the sight of her or even the thought of her.
Right now though he’d much rather be looking into the eyes of Jesse Flores than the cold ones of Catherine Weaver. The liquid metal infiltrator stood across from him staring him down; her body in perfect posture and the epitome of perfection. There wasn’t an errant hair on her head and her skin was unblemished despite living in the wastelands of the day. Even her clothing was picture perfect. The dress was solid white and didn’t have a single imperfection of any kind on its surface. Secretly he actually envied her. John couldn’t remember the last time that he’d been in clean clothes or even clothes that he hadn’t worn for days on end. It was something that he took for granted in the past and never truly appreciated until now.
One thing that he’d always appreciated though was the truth. Nonetheless at this very moment he would’ve preferred her to lie. The story that she told him, that she detailed to no end, had burned through him just like the energy pulse of the rifle would. Just the thought of what she was suggesting was enough to make him sick to his stomach and she’d only spoken a few words to him since she revealed herself as having been Jesse all along – the original having had been killed during the reconnaissance mission to Topanga Canyon where Weaver replaced her. He prayed to God that it was a lie or that Weaver was, in fact, a Skynet infiltrator that had somehow gathered her memories but John knew it wasn’t the case. This was the real deal.
Hell got even more frightening as she told her tale.
Separate names with a comma.