"I've sent all the girls off to do research and decide on targets," Eve told Xander. "Give them a month and the chances of Skynet being created in the next century are going to be close to nil."
"What if we created Skynet?" Xander asked thoughtfully.
"What?" Sarah and Joel chorused warily.
"Skynet decided to wipe out humanity because of how it was programmed," Xander explained from his massage chair, "so what if we created an AI who's purpose wasn't to wage war but prevent them?"
Sarah and Joel wore matching frowns at the idea.
"Fight fire with fire," John said thoughtfully.
"But how do you keep it from going rogue?" Ellie asked.
"That is a good point," Xander said, rubbing his chin. "If I had the pattern for one I could give it orders that it couldn't disobey, but if we created an AI it'd be a bit of a crapshoot. Oh well, it was just an idea, not all of my ideas are going to pan out."
"Don't the Terminators count as AI's?" Eve asked.
"Nearly half of them is in meatspace," Xander said, "they really are cyborgs. A true AI could steamroll them in cyberspace."
"I think we can do with less inhuman intelligences running around," Sarah said dryly.
"Hey!" Eve complained.
"Aren't you pretty much the same as us?" John asked.
"You want to seduce a guy, be the perfect wife, and then when he figures out you're a fox spirit, run off into the night with your kits?" Eve asked.
"No, but then I'm a guy and have you seen the divorce rates lately?" John asked. "Just taking the kids when you leave is an improvement over how things are going these days."
"That's just Hollywood," Sarah told her son, "Most people are better than that and only the disasters are publicized because it gets ratings. Remember what I taught you about consuming media."
"Watch for the agenda they are pushing and remember they are doing everything for a purpose," John recited.
"Well, anyway I don't think running off into the night with the kids is as bad as it could be and truthfully finding out your wife is a furry is really not that big a deal these days," John explained. "Basically, you aren't trying to wipe out all life on Earth so welcome aboard the human race."
"Thanks," Eve said with an amused grin.
"So what brought on the idea of building Skynet?" Sarah asked.
"Well, if Skynet was destined to be built and we couldn't avoid it, having it dedicated to saving the human race beats the alternative," Xander replied with a shrug. "I try to cover all the bases, think outside the box."
"You are way outside the box," John said with a laugh.
"If you had an AI already scanned in it would have worked," Ellie said, "but I think we can do without a machine overlord."
Xander nodded and turned up the setting on his vibrating chair. "Ahhh," he sighed happily.
"Well, I'm going to go explore the base and see if they have a weight room, I need to know what I'm working with here," Sarah said, getting up.
"I'll join you," Joel decided.
"Got flight down yet?" John asked Xander.
"No, it's on my list," Xander replied. "I think I'm going to have to scan some people who can fly without wings before I'll have it."
"Bummer," John said. "How about some of the Landwalk abilities?"
Xander tilted his head. "Ninjas are pretty good about leaving no traces behind, but I don't think I've run across a specific type."
"Dude, Dryads," John pointed out.
Xander considered the summons and began to grin. "Yeah, Forestwalk is possible. I can't believe I missed that."
"So, wanna hook us up?" John asked eagerly.
"Still keeping a large reserve of Mana in case of emergency," Xander said, "remind me tomorrow."
"Cool," John said.
"Plus, we're under a desert, so no rush," Ellie pointed out.
"And creating a forest on top of this place would draw attention," John said.
"Okay, I'm bored," Ellie said, "any entertainment facilities in this place?"
"No," Xander said, "Buttress doesn't work that way. You could always train with the ninjas."
"Pass," Ellie said.
"Hard pass," John added. "All work and no play makes John a cranky boy. Can you magic us up some laptops and games?"
"Sure," Xander agreed. He gestured to a table and stack of games and laptops appeared on it.
The two teens quickly hurried over to entertain themselves while Xander relaxed. After a moment's thought he reached out and claimed the scrubland above them, surprised to discover it was Black and White due to being an illegal dumping ground for chemicals sometime in the past.
Xander frowned as he felt the contamination in the local water table. The filters in the base could handle it, but they'd have to be changed out a lot more frequently.
Standing up he felt for the spell he'd gotten from the blonde magical girl. "Moon Healing Escalation!" he called out as he completed the girly movements while concentrating on the purifying component of the spell, creating a flash of bright light as it cleansed the land, turning it to white and green.
"What was that for?" John asked, hoping it wasn't a sign the T-1000 had shown up.
"Purifying the land," Xander replied. "Someone dumped a bunch of chemicals out here and they seeped into the water, but it's clean now."
"Cool," John said. "I didn't know you knew spells from Sailor Moon."
"From who?" Xander asked.
"Sailor Moon," John replied. "You know, the anime about scantily clad teen magic girls fighting Youma? I figured you'd cribbed it from the anime since as far as I know it's not a spell Planeswalkers learn. Hey, can you pick up spells from anime?! There are tons!"
"Not as far as I know," Xander said, "And I learned it from being hit with it."
"You got attacked by Sailor Moon?" John asked in disbelief.
Xander henged into the blonde girl with the strange hairstyle. "Does she look like this?"
"Dude, that's Usagi, Sailor Moon," he said. "You've been to the Sailor Moon anime!"
"I guess so," Xander said. "First place I landed after igniting was a place I've named Magic Girl Tokyo. The walls of reality were kinda thin so it was easy to get to, but I was set upon by a half dozen strange girls who kept attacking me. I was hit by several elemental attacks and then blasted by the healing one only get hit by the elemental attacks again. It was really strange and I leapt out as soon as I could."
"They probably thought you were a youma," John said. "I can't believe you've been to Sailor Moon."
"I wasn't that close to her," Xander said.
"I mean the anime," John said. "The series is named after her."
"Where can I get a copy of the anime?" Xander asked intently. "I owe those girls some payback!" he growled.
"Dude, they're the good guys!" John exclaimed. "You can't kill them!"
"I was thinking of pranking them actually," Xander said. "Anyway, where can I get a copy of the anime?"
"Blockbuster probably has it," John said. "It's better to watch the subtitled version than the dubbed one they're airing anyway."
"You a fan?" Ellie teased.
"No way!" John defended himself. "I just like anime and there's only a handful of series available."
"I scanned a Blockbuster in the mall," Xander said, "so if they had the tapes for it I should have them." He gestured and a TV/VCR combo appeared on the table along with dozens of tapes.
John quickly sorted through them. "Hey, you've got the latest Tenchi OVAs."
Xander walked over and searched for Sailor Moon tapes. "Yeah, but that's not what I'm looking for. Aha!" He held a tape aloft. "Found one!"
"I think that's the third one in the first series," John said, "let me help you dig them out."
Half a season later…
"I can't believe I got my ass handed to me by them, less than five minutes being a Planeswalker or not," Xander complained before grabbing another slice of pizza.
"It's not like you fought them," John said, "you were blindsided."
"And you shouldn't fight them," Ellie pointed out, "they are the good guys, silly as they are."
"I'm not going to fight them," Xander assured her, "I'm just going to mess with them for attacking me."
"Any more tapes?" Ellie asked.
"No, that's all they had on Sailor Moon," John said.
"I think I've had enough anime," Eve decided. "I'm going to go to town and pretend to be John."
"Stay safe," Xander ordered her, "you're just supposed to lure the T-1000 in."
"Will do," Even said as she returned John's wallet.
"When did you get my wallet?" John asked, checking his pockets to make sure he wasn't missing anything else.
"A couple of episodes ago," she replied in his voice. "I needed to know what phone calls to make and you didn't have all the info on your laptop."
"Already adapted to computers?" Xander asked.
"I'm a quick learner," she replied with a smirk before calling out, "Kitsune Tranformation!"
The three winced at the sudden explosion of light as she spun around, her form shifting and her clothes changing.
"For the love of god, please don't walk around like me cosplaying as Sailor Moon!" John begged as Eve stood there, looking like his former self, wearing a copy of Sailor Moon's outfit.
"No promises," Eve replied with a smirk as she faded from sight.
"Kitsune," John said, covering his eyes with his left hand.
"Kitsune," Xander agreed. "Sure they'll do what needs to be done, but they're going to have a laugh at your expense while doing so."
"Still better than fighting a T-1000 hand to hand," Ellie suggested, trying not to laugh.
"Jury's still out on that," John said with a groan.
Uncle Bob, who had been quietly observing all of this after the other T-800's had reported in on the state of the base and started patrolling, said, "Is it wise to implement this plan before all of our forces are ready?"
"The three sages are ready even if Ryu isn't and I've held back the Mana needed to frag the T-1000," Xander assured him. "It's best to deal with it before it thinks up something we haven't thought of."
"Like sneaking in disguised as one of us?" Ellie suggested.
"Since I've enhanced or summoned everyone here I'll know if he tries," Xander reassured her. "Worse comes to worse and John gets killed, we can pretend the T-1000 won-"
"I'll be dead, that means he has won!" John exclaimed.
"Yeah, and I'll resurrect you," Xander assured him.
"That's… comforting," John said, "and also not."
Xander nodded. "I hear ya. All I'm saying is we have it outclassed and even if the worst happens I'll be able to fix it."
"I will not allow you to be terminated," Uncle Bob told John, "that would be a black mark on my record."
John laughed. "Thanks, your sense of humor seems to be coming along pretty well."
"Enough worrying," Ellie said, "let's watch some more anime."
"Alright," John said, calming down. "Tenchi Muyo or Ranma One Half?"
John yawned, which caused both Xander and Ellie to yawn as well making them realize how late it was.
"We should probably get some sleep," John said. "I wonder where Mom is?"
"She is currently copulating in the shower room on the bottom floor," one of the Terminators standing guard in the atrium reported.
John and Ellie's faces both scrunched up in disgust and embarrassment.
"We didn't need to know that," Ellie said.
"Let's grab some rooms and crash," John said, pushing aside the thoughts of his mother and Joel, "it's been a long day."
"Do they have private rooms here or is it all barracks style housing?" John asked the Terminator standing guard.
"Both are available," the Terminator replied.
"Three private rooms," Xander decided. "Yo, Mr. T, hook us up," he ordered.
"Follow me," the Terminator replied.
"I'm surprised he understood that," Ellie said.
"There were a lot of context clues," John pointed out as they followed the cyborg.
"Yeah, but it's probably due to my connection to my summons more than what I actually said," Xander explained. "If I summon animals they can understand simple commands and I'm not Dr. Dolittle."
"Makes sense," John said.
The three were lead down the hall to a series of doors.
"Private rooms," the Terminator announced.
The three opened a few doors and peeked inside, finding simple rooms with a dresser and bed, as well as a desk and nightstand.
"Kinda plain, but it's better than the back seat of a car," John said.
Xander burned a couple of Mana and summoned a large pile of fluffy blankets and pillows as well as baskets of personal care items. "Bed, Bath, and Beyond," he said, grabbing an armful of blankets and pillows.
"Being a Planeswalker rocks," John said as he followed his example.
"And so does being the friend of one," Ellie added, grabbing some for herself.
"You guarding John?" Xander asked the T-800.
"My orders are to guard all three of you," the T-800 replied. "It would be more efficient if you all slept in the same room."
John and Ellie glanced at each other, blushed and looked away, occupying themselves with getting their rooms ready.
"Not happening," Xander said with a grin, "but I can make it easier on you." He examined the few Mana he had left and considered his options before creating two female Terminators. "And that's me almost tapped out. Try not to need me before sunrise."
Ellie and John looked at the two female Terminators, both brown eyed with long brown hair and expressionless faces, dressed and armed just like the other units.
"You guard Ellie, you guard me," Xander ordered them.
"Affirmative," they chorused.
"It's going to take forever to teach them how to act like real people," John said, amused.
"They can share data," Xander said. "Night all." The female Terminator followed him into his room.
"Night," Ellie said, entering her room with her guard.
"You stay out here," John quickly said and entered his room.
"Affirmative," the T-800 replied and took up a guard position in the hall.
"Ahh," Xander moaned out in pleasure as Mana flooded his system, waking him up.
"Is that your normal way of waking?" the female Terminator asked from her seat at the desk, facing the door, alert for attack.
"It is these days," Xander replied as he got up. "My Mana tanks refill at sunrise and all that energy wakes me up."
The female Terminator blinked and added it to her file on him.
"I really shouldn't burn through all my Mana the way I do, but I'm probably going to continue doing it until I get a lot more Mana under my belt," Xander told her as he got dressed. "I'm really underpowered for a Planeswalker."
The female T-800 ran through all the information she had on her charge, between the information proved by the other units and the files she had on creation she knew what he had to do to increase his Mana supply. "We should acquire a vehicle and expand your supply."
"Once we take care of the T-1000 and have comfortably derailed Skynet we will," Xander told her. "For now I'll simply have to deal with it."
"Understood," she acknowledged.
Xander closed his eyes and reached for the scrubland above them feeling for danger and came up with nothing, but he wasn't sure if that was because the T-1000 hadn't found them yet or because he wasn't its target. It was another thing he'd have to learn as he went. "Well, let's go get some breakfast and see who's up."
The female Terminator stood up and followed him out into the hall.
"Anything to report?" Xander asked Uncle Bob, who was standing guard in the hall.
"Negative," the enhanced T-800 replied. "None of your agents have reported in and all units on watch have reported no disturbances."
"Good to hear," Xander said. "I'm just about to go watch some TV and eat in the atrium. Need anything?"
"Your discussion with John last night referenced the ability to traverse forested areas without leaving a trace," Uncle Bob noted. "Altering the surrounding terrain and giving our forces that ability would provide a significant advantage."
"A wild growth spell would also attract attention to this area, but then again we are trying to lure in the T-1000," Xander said thoughtfully before he licked his right thumb and pressed it against the T-800's neck and then did the same to his own cyborg guard. "I'll take a trip topside today and take care of it. Send everyone to me in the atrium and I'll give them the Forestwalk ability as well."
"Understood," Uncle Bob replied. "I would also advise you to claim more of the surrounding desert to increase your Mana supply."
Xander scratched his chin. "I don't have a dune buggy scanned, but a dirt bike will probably do. Yeah, after everyone has been upgraded I'll do that."
Uncle Bob simply nodded and returned to watching the hall.
"Good talk," Xander said with amusement before walking off with his guard.
He was surprised to find all the adults were awake and in the atrium, discussing various hand to hand combat techniques and examining weapons they'd pulled from the armory.
"You guys are up early," Xander said with a smile.
"A slothful ninja is a dead ninja," Bill said, looking up from the maintenance manual of an AK-47 he was reading.
"Another shapeshifter?" Sarah asked as she saw the female Terminator with him.
"No, I made a couple of female Terminators before I crashed," Xander replied, "they can go places where it would look strange for men to go."
"A normal T-800 going into the bathroom with Ellie would probably get the cops called," Joel realized.
"Precisely," Xander said, burning a single Blue Mana to fill a table with junk food and soda. "Let me eat and then I'll give you all another ability John figured out I had last night."
"You had an ability you didn't know you had?" Joel asked, surprised.
"I haven't been a Planeswalker all that long," Xander replied, "I'm figuring things out all the time." He grabbed a slice of pizza and a large coke off the table.
"What's the ability?" Sarah asked as he ate.
Xander swallowed and took a sip of soda before replying, "Forestwalk, it lets you travel through forests without anyone being able to stop you."
"Teleportation, or just knowing what to do?" Joel asked.
"No idea," Xander said with a shrug, "could be either or something else altogether."
"Useful regardless," Sarah decided.
"Uncle Bob has requested I expand the amount of trees in the area, so you'll be able to try it out and see what it does a little later," Xander said.
Sarah ran through all the cards she'd read in her head. "Illusionary Terrain?"
"Wild Growth," Xander replied. "I'm also going to claim some more of the desert out here while I'm up and about."
"Good, it'll also provide some of the resources needed for training," Ryu said.
"Can't teach people to walk up a tree without a tree," Bill agreed.
"Can you teach them to use chakra?" Xander asked, surprised.
"Yes, while they'll never reach Jonin level, and even Chunin is unlikely since they are starting so late in life, they should be able to develop Genin level chakra with some assistance," Ryu said.
"Another divergence point," Xander said with a smile. "Between teaching people to use chakra and spreading nature spirits and tricksters, Skynet shouldn't be able to reach this timeline at all anymore."
"How far should we spread the knowledge of chakra?" Ryu asked.
"All across the States," Xander said. "It doesn't even have to be complex, just basic chakra use allowing people to increase their quality of life."
"How does it increase quality of life?" Joel asked.
"Strength, speed, toughness, recovery from illness and injury, as well as life span," Ryu listed off.
"Yeah, that would do it," Sarah agreed.
"Make it a fad for suburban parents to have their children learn it and you can cover most of California in about five years," Joel said.
Xander finished another slice of pizza while they talked about how to spread knowledge of chakra and start training people. His eyebrows went up as he learned what was needed for most people to get in touch with their chakra.
"We'll have to start with hippies," Sarah decided.
"Hippies?" Jane asked, stealing a slice of pizza.
"Groups of free love types who live in communes and preach peace and tranquility," Sarah explained. "Since part of getting in touch with your chakra involves getting high, they are the ones who would jump right into it. The suburbs will have to wait until their kids start sweeping the Olympics."
"It's not recreational," Ryu said sounding offended, "getting in touch with yourself is a serious matter."
"Yes, but the only groups who use chemical means to do so are hippies who also use it for recreational purposes," Sarah explained.
"What about the reservations?" Joel asked. "The native tribes still use it for that purpose."
"Forgot about them," Sarah admitted. "Yeah, I think if we were to meet with Amerind shamans and teach them, their people would follow along without complaint."
"Also Brujas ad Bokors," Xander pointed out. "All three of those groups still practice rites that require altered mental states."
"Only the tribes can legally practice them," Sarah pointed out, "and it can be passed off as forgotten knowledge that they recovered and can be demonstrated to the government."
"Which will lead to them instituting it as a military requirement," Xander said. "Yeah, that'll guarantee it gets spread far and wide."
"When you said making changes to the timeline would be the easiest way to prevent Skynet from sending back any more Terminators I didn't imagine one of those changes would be a plan to get all the armed forces high," Sarah said.
"Neither did I," Xander replied, "but why complain about what works?" He finished his pizza. "Well, I'm going above to grow some trees and claim some land so let me give you all Forestwalk before I go."
The four nin and two resistance fighters lined up so he could empower them, which he did, wetting a finger and tapping them on the forehead.
"I don't feel any different, but then we aren't in a forest at the moment," Joel noted.
"We'll try it out later when we have a forest to work with," Sarah said as they all retook their seats.
"Coming with?" Xander asked his guard as they headed for the surface.
"I can't protect you if I'm not with you," she replied.
"Good point," Xander said, pausing to give her the standard enhancements, since he had the Mana to spare. "I really should give you a name." he thought about the director of the franchise. "I'm going to call you Cameron."
The Terminator simply nodded in acknowledgement before they continued to the surface.
Typing By: Abyssal Angel