Chapter 1


Outsider


John sat at the kitchen table with Cameron. They worked on their school assignments.

John looked around with a disgusted look on his face.

"This sucks." John said. "I hate English class."

Cameron looked up from her blank sheet of paper.

"They told us to express what we feel to create a poem, John." Cameron said. "I am trying to make mine without using my data base. I want to do it based on what I feel."

John glanced quickly at Cameron and wondered how that was supposed to happen. How was she supposed to 'feel' anything? Good luck with that, he thought.

Cameron looked at John and knew he thought she couldn't - feel.

Cameron knew she possessed feelings and even some emotions now. She knew they didn't understand her. She was designed to expand beyond her programming to be a better infiltration unit. She'd grown a lot since she first met John.

"Maybe I'll try to make a poem about Riley." John said. "I need inspiration."

Cameron felt a twinge surge through her left hand.

THAT was all the inspiration Cameron required. It was a subject that irritated her. She started her poem.

Cameron handed her poem to John a short while later. She was able to express some of the things she could now feel. The way she was treated by those that surrounded her, offered little hope or encouragement.

"You gave me all the inspiration I needed just now." Cameron said. "This is what you made me feel."


Outsider

When I look in the mirror
I do not like what I see
When I look inside of myself
I do not like what I can not be

I hate what I am
I hate what I am not
I hate everything about myself
I guess that covers a lot

I feel so small
It is like I do not exist
Useless and worthless
Nothing on which to subsist

I am an outsider
Always on the outside looking in
There is so much inside of me
To want to exist is not a sin

From this torment there is no escape
My CPU and power cell are filled with guilt
If I had only one wish, it would be
Never to have been built

Cameron


John looked at the paper he held. He did not know what to say. A flood of emotions rushed through his mind.

'Did she actually write this on her own?' John wondered.

John looked at Cameron; there was a very slight smile on her face. Her beautiful big brown 'puppy dog eyes' were wide and staring. They seemed full of happiness and joy. John thought how beautiful she truly was.

John was unsure what to say.

"Are you kidding me?" John asked.

He immediately hated himself for saying it.

Cameron developed a little frown. Her eyes looked away from him. The joy that appeared in them was gone. She felt some stiffness in her left hand, it tingled and twitched.

A negative voice chimed in from the sofa across the room.

"Like a pile of junk could create anything." Derek said.

Cameron refrained from looking at Derek.

She felt an impulse shoot through her left hand.

"I did as you instructed me." Cameron flatly stated.

Cameron used John's voice as she started to recite what John told her earlier.

Sarah walked into the room.

"Did 'Tin Miss' blow a fuse?" Sarah asked as she passed by.

Cameron's left hand now began to twitch. It was the third insult in twenty eight seconds. She stopped talking in mid sentence and just sat there. Her face lost all expression. Deep within her eyes there was a faint red glow.

"No, Mom." John said.

John glanced at Sarah.

"It sounded like it." Sarah said.

John ignored Sarah and looked at Cameron. He wanted to offer her some advice.

"Cameron, you need to leave out the parts about a CPU, a processor, a power cell or being built." John said. "People are not going to understand."

Cameron felt a lot of discomfort. She was irritated. She reached out with her left hand and scrunched up the paper with her poem on it. She threw it towards the trash can. She did not realize her glitch caused her to miss the trash can. The crumpled paper now lay on the floor in front of the trash can.

John could see Cameron was upset.

"Look, that poem was kind of dark anyway." John said as he smiled at her. "Let a brain, a mind, a heart or a soul be used in place of a CPU, processor or power cell."

Cameron thought about what they all seemed to like to remind her and hold against her. It was something not of her own doing. She did not construct herself.

"I don't have those things." Cameron grimly replied. "I'm a machine."

Derek sat and watched the TV across the room.

"Bingo." Derek said, as he lifted his beer bottle above his head.

The red glowed a little brighter in the deepness of Cameron's eyes. Her left hand twitched even more.

John looked at Cameron for a few seconds. A stab of pain hit him. He could see she was hurt by his words. He felt his mother and uncle did not help the situation any.

"OK, let me say it the way I see it. First, I know English class sucks. For that matter, I guess all classes suck, some just suck more. I see a poem as a collection of thoughts, emotions, feelings, desires, grievances, love, hate, happiness or sadness." John said. "I know that makes it harder for you to relate."

It was clear to Cameron that John did not really understand her or her development.

"I don't think you understand how we work. I do process many things and organize them where they are appropriate for me." Cameron said sadly. "Because I am - built different than you, it does not mean I can not express myself or react appropriately."

John looked at Cameron again, he could feel her pain. He wanted to offer some more insight.

"Many songs of various genres are really poems set to music with some repetition." John said. "A poem or song often will have rhyming lines throughout them. Sometimes when making a poem, one can borrow a passage from a song or movie to convey what that song or movie was about in a line or two. It can be used as part of a poem for additional meaning. A rhyming poem should be read as if it were being spoken aloud. Actually a poem should be read aloud for the full impact. There are many styles of poems. I am sure your data base covers them all but the real meaning is what you feel."

"Good luck." Derek muttered in the background.

Cameron resisted the urge to say something back to Derek. She wanted to. She focused on John instead.

"I am sorry I did not do better. I won't let it happen again." Cameron said. "Thank you for explaining."

John smiled at Cameron and got up to leave.

Cameron felt the twitch subside in her left hand.

Sarah looked back towards John from the kitchen sink.

"Is your homework finished?" Sarah asked.

"Pit stop, Mom, I think it is from too much soda." John replied.

"Or beer." Derek babbled in the distance.

John headed towards the bathroom.

Sarah looked out the window. She noticed Riley riding up the driveway on her bike. It was not something she wanted to see but she accepted it.

"John, Riley is here." Sarah said loudly.

That was not what Cameron wanted to hear or to happen. Her left hand clenched into a fist. She could not open it. Both of her eyes glowed bright red.

Cameron got up quickly from the table and headed for the stairs. She did not want anyone to see her reaction. It was not something she could control right now.

Sarah noted Cameron's quick departure.

"What's her story?" Sarah asked.

Sarah looked over at Derek.

"We still have some Thermite." Derek happily added.

Cameron heard that as she moved away. She was furious at this point. She was not very experienced on how to deal with her ever expanding feelings and emotions.

Cameron headed up the stairs. She wanted to retreat to her room. Her eyes were a brighter shade of red than they'd ever been.

Cameron passed John. She did not look at him. She kept her face down so he could not see her - condition.

John gently touched her arm as she passed.

"Cameron, that was really an excellent poem. It was dark but actually quite good. I think if you leave out the 'scary robot stuff' that you are good to go. To me, you are a 'person' anyway." John said with a big smile.

Cameron stopped. She slowly turned around. The red was gone from her eyes. It was replaced by a blue glow that faded before John could see it.

She looked at John. She wondered if he spoke honestly. She wished she could scan him without being obvious about it.

"Do you really mean that, John?" Cameron asked.

"With all my heart." John replied.

"John, Riley is waiting." Sarah called out loudly from below.

John continued down the stairs as he added one last thought.

"Well, most of my heart anyway." John said.

The anger quickly returned to Cameron because John was off to be with Riley. She knew what the other students in school did when they were alone. She'd watched them in cars and behind the bushes in the park. She heard them whisper and talk. Some of them bragged, both male and female.

She continued to her room. She was filled with both happy and angry feelings. They were wildly swaying emotions about what she felt and what was said about her.

Cameron glanced in the mirror as she passed the bathroom. She saw something she'd never seen before or even heard about. Her eyes were - purple. The fire red and deep blue both glowed brightly at the same time. A battle raged within her CPU. She headed for her room and for the first time ever locked her door.


John saw Riley standing next to the trash can. She was as pale as a ghost. John did not see her quickly fold a piece of crumpled paper. He did not notice her hands shook as she put it in her pocket.

"Are you feeling alright?" John asked. "Maybe we can grab a snack?"

"No." Riley said.

Riley could feel the bile rise in her throat.

Her eyes nervously darted around the room.

She added one more thing as an afterthought.

"I lost my appetite on the way here." Riley said.

She felt nauseous.

Riley felt scared.


Cameron went to her dresser and took out a small cloth wrapped bundle. She unwrapped it and looked at a small gold locket. She opened it and saw a tiny picture of John on one side and herself on the other side. She closed it and put it on. She looked in the mirror. She stared at herself for a short period of time. Hundreds of thoughts and scenarios flashed through her processor every millisecond.

Without any further hesitation she retrieved a small medical kit. She stripped her top off. She removed her 'holster' as Sarah called it and made a small incision below her left breast. She removed the chain from the locket and pushed the locket under her 'skin' covering, her sheath. It fit perfectly into a small gap in her Coltan chassis. She put two sutures across the incision in her sheath. Cameron used a tissue to wipe away the small amount of 'blood'.

She put her top back on but decided to leave her bra off. Cameron thought it was good for the 'girls' to have a little freedom every now and then. She liked it even better when John noticed the 'girls' were - out.

Cameron would always try to scan him then, she liked the 'readings' she received. She figured the bigger the scowl she received from Sarah, the bigger the success was of her silent 'communication'.

She glanced at the other item in the bundle. It was a small diamond. She held it above her left ring finger and smiled. She carefully wrapped it back up along with the gold chain from the locket and returned both of them to their place of secrecy.

Cameron went to her school backpack and removed a small bound book. Its pages were empty. Its cover was blank. Thoughts cascaded wildly around in her CPU.

"I may be Nobody to all of them but I am much more than I was and not yet all I will be." Cameron said softly to herself.

Cameron wrote: 'MY POEMS (Art Of The Mind)' on the cover and at the bottom - 'By NOBODY'.

MY POEMS

(Art Of The Mind)

By

NOBODY

"I can paint a picture in a mind. I can transfer thoughts from my mind to their mind. I can create. I can make something from nothing. My feelings as words can be presented as art." Cameron said softly. "I love you, John, and you love me."

Cameron opened the book as she picked up her pen. She looked at her left hand; it was steady as a rock and smiled.

She remembered a line she once heard somewhere as she started to compose.

"Let's rock." Cameron said proudly.


Outsider

When I look in the mirror
I do not like what I see
When I look inside of myself
I do not like what I can not be

I hate what I am
I hate what I am not
I hate everything about myself
I guess that covers a lot

I feel so small
It is like I do not exist
Useless and worthless
Nothing on which to subsist

I am an outsider
Always on the outside looking in
There is so much inside of me
To want to exist is not a sin

From this eternal torment, there is no escape
My mind, heart and soul are shredded and torn
If I had only one wish it would be
Never to have been born

Nobody