A new mission

After everyone had settled down and the doctor went back to do more work, we gathered at my landing site near Eliashen's scoop.

So, you really did crash here... Alexia mumbled in awe.

Yes. Eliashen wasn't very happy, but I think I'm forgiven, right? I asked.

Yes, I think it was for a greater good that you came here. Besides, nobody is harmed, and I think everyone will benefit as well. Eliashen replied.

"(Ding!) You have a new Private message!" chimed the computer.

wow. A private message? Must be important. Open it. I commanded.

"Message from: Author, Subject: Mission, Body: Well done, Anthony! I can see a good future ahead for the Andalites. However, the Yeerks have been active outside Earth and have decided you are more threatening than the Andalites now. As such, they have gathered most of their available resources around Earth with the obvious intent to destroy you. I have come to know that they now have Crayak actively on their side. The Elimist has also come, more because Crayak has than anything else.

"He has told me that in order to have any chance of surviving this when you return is to become more than you are right now. In order for you to do this he has provided some instructions and guidelines. You will need to travel to other dimensions, merging pieces of their realities with your own. That part is automatic and will happen as soon as you run ' ' from this message.

"After you have done this you need to find a way to return so that you can continue to the next dimension. You should be able to do this with ' ', but it might not work right away. When you feel prepared to face the Yeerks, just run ' ' and head home. But remember: will lock the realities you have gathered to you and will not be reversible. Good luck!

"Attachments are included: , , . End of message."

Hello? Anthony? Are you there? asked Eliashen.

Oh! Um, yeah, I was listening to a private message. I responded.

Well, you just sorta zoned out for a minute and we were getting worried. said Alexia.

Well, I have some news to tell you. The Yeerks are at Earth to destroy me when I get there, and I need to adventure to other dimensions to be able to defeat them!

... Okay...

No! Really! I didn't remote-assimilate the rest of the Yeerk Empire because I didn't know if it would fail, and I didn't wish to be the cause of genocide... I explained.

You could have totally demolished the Yeerks but didn't?! exclaimed Eliashen.

Indeed. Would you rather have me assimilate the Andalites instead? Consider Alexia's initial incompatibility. If the Yeerks had exhibited such a disabling defect, it would have been nearly impossible to help them without me and other Borg visiting each and every one.

But why can't you remotely assimilate them now? asked Alexia.

Because of Crayak's involvement the Yeerks have been able to enhance their communications security before the software probes I installed could adapt and send the information to the collective.

But if you could get that information, you could do it, right? asked Eliashen.

Yes, but I would need to physically connect to a Yeerk ship, and the only ones that exist now orbit Earth waiting for me. Crayak has made my mission a requirement, for even I cannot hope to guard against the entire Yeerk Empire fleet.

(it's incredible that he can even claim to do less!) mumbled Eliashen.

You forget that you are now Borg as well. You have the entire collectives' knowledge at your disposal, and if you required, your body can build and enhance just as well as mine has. Every Borg can do this so long as they are functional. I lectured.

Oh yeah. But, what if the entire Andalite population was assimilated! That would be enough firepower to get them! she replied.

It would help, but I have a feeling Crayak would still win. You could go around asking for volunteers, but I will still need to complete the mission. Besides, doing the mission will add to our knowledge and help the fight anyways! I said, trying to convince her.

... Well, I see your point, she sighed, defeated, But I still think you should be careful. I've never heard of inter-dimensional travel, and from searching the collective I gather you haven't either.

I understand, and I will be careful. If I fail, I won't come back; therefore Crayak will find a different game and hopefully leave us all alone. But relax, Eliashen, I won't fail. I believe this is an opportunity of a lifetime... or at least, part of one, I said jokingly.

giggle I think he has probably stalled long enough, Alexia said, Whatever you need to do to prepare, we will help.

Okay. First, I need a lot of dirt and energy to build the portal according to my instructions... I began as we started to work.

Finally we were ready. After about three hours of work (and not just the lifting and pounding king either!) Eliashen, Alexia, and I had finished the 'Dimensional Entry Point'. Unfortunately, for all of our hard work and energy, it looked like nothing more than a standard human closet door, complete with hinges and a doorknob, with a large yellow canister to one side and a control panel on the other.

A.N.: Think, the portal doors from Monsters Inc.

I think it's ready Anthony. Do you want to take a break before trying it out? asked Alexia.

Well, I don't really need a lot. Perhaps ten minutes so I can gather my energy. I replied.

While we had been working, I had compiled and compressed as much information on science fiction material as possible and stored it in my onboard databases, for according to the guidelines I would be accessing dimensions based on fictional media from the Source, which is where all dimensions come from. I had also backed-up my mind into the collective in case worse met worse. The guidelines also mentioned that the Dimensional Entry Point could not create dimensions from scratch, but only copy and reference existing ones. I suppose that this would prevent my intrusions from messing up the Source's ideas, but I can't be sure. The good thing was that the Dimensional Entry Point (here on out noted as the DEP) could keep those copies that it created and freeze (time-wise) them so that if I needed to return I wouldn't need to start from the beginning again. Also, hidden inside the users' manual I found that in order to travel to and from each created dimension and equal amount of energy would need to be transferred, for the purpose of keeping the law of Conservation of Energy and consequently the Law of Conservation of Matter. How the DEP manages to do this is uncertain, but I don't really need to understand it completely right now.

So, where is your first destination? asked Eliashen.

I have a list of possible destinations; however the instructions didn't specify an order. Therefore I am picking the first one on the list, labeled "Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles, 2007.02.17". Its ID is 2b8v9V0AR4v.00#oP I said.

Okay, I entered it in. It should be ready now.

Wish me luck. I said as I stepped toward the DEP morphing Human (as I read from the guide, most of the dimensions would have human presence, but not Andalite per say).

What? asked Alexia.

"Oh, it's a phrase meaning I hope that I succeed. Luck can help." I explained.

Oh. Well then, I wish you luck.

"Thanks." I said as I stepped through. Quite suddenly I found myself in the middle of what seemed like lightning and a whirlwind.

When it finally stopped I found myself near a storage shed that seemed to have had a rather intense fire inside from the smell, but it appeared undamaged. No sooner than had I noticed this when I was struck in the back extremely hard. At first, I thought perhaps someone had flung a rather heavy rock at me, but that was soon disproved as I glanced behind me and saw... a girl?

"Hey!" I yelled, "What was that for?"

"You are a threat. You have apparently come from another time, probably the future, and are probably here to kill Sarah Conner. Either that or you are an unknown rebel. In either case you must be detained until I can confirm your intent." she calmly explained as she walked toward me.

"Can we try to do this peacefully? I don't even know where I am, or who Sarah Conner is, or even if I came from the future!" I panicked.

Cocking her head as if in thought, she said, "You don't act like a standard unit, so you must be human," then she looked at me differently, "but you have an exoskeleton. Therefore you must be a machine from farther into the future than I was, for I don't recognize your build pattern. Therefore, prepare to be detained."

"Crud." I said, then to my computer, Computer engage yellow alert and prepare to defend and disable the targeted enemy. I commanded solemnly.

When her fist came shooting at my head my own hand came to catch it. Slightly surprised, she brought her other fist near as she twisted the one I caught free. I didn't expect her to hit so hard! As I clutched my cheek in pain she reached around me and held my arms behind my back. Annoyed, I pulled my arms free and threw my own punch, intending to knock her out. With force that should have snapped an elephant skull, I punched her square in the forehead. Unfortunately, it seemed to have little effect as she just glared at me and wrapped her arm around my neck, effectively cutting off my air supply. Not good. She was extremely strong, and I couldn't break free of her grip!

I wondered why she was groping around my, as if looking for something, but I wasn't able to find out what before I passed out.

When I woke up I found that I was bound to a chair with rope around my wrists and ankles, looking around, I saw a middle aged woman staring at me.

"Finally awake, huh? You have a lot of explaining to do." she said.

"Hello to you to." I replied, still looking around. To the left and behind me stood the girl that knocked me out. "Kinda figured you'd stick around. Tell me, what's in your face? I hit you with enough force to knock out an elephant and yet you still stand..." I asked her. She looked confused, but did not answer.

"I'll ask the questions here." the woman growled, "Who are you and what is your mission?" she asked.

"Well, my name is Anthony Tsaukpaetra and my mission here is to gather information in this dimension that will help me fight enemies back home." I said truthfully.

"What kind of BS is that?" she asked.

"The truth. Can I ask you a question? Are you Sarah Conner? Miss Ironwoman here mentioned a Sarah Conner could be a target for people in the future."

"Do you really not know?" she asked.

"I'll assume that was rhetorical."

"I don't know what you're playing at mister but it ain't funny." she spat.

"I have no intention of playing ma'am, I can assure you that."

"You really don't know then, do you? Yes, I am Sarah Conner. I am wanted for attempting to stop the world from ending."

"That sounds innocent enough. I would think that would make you a hero." I said.

"Not if you're a machine. Besides, I killed people. So what are you anyway? You're not a human because you have a ton of machinery inside you, yet you don't seem intent on the destruction of the world, not to mention you passed out when suffocated."

"I am Borg. It is rather complicated, but I was born human, invented the Borg system, was turned into an alien, and eventually got here. As I have said before, I have no intention of harming you. In fact, I could probably help you, if you'd like, but I will need to leave sooner or later." I said.

"You'd help us? After what we've done to you?" Sarah asked incredulously.

"Why not? I am not damaged on account of you or your friend. However, several of my systems have been temporarily disable when I came here. Repair will take a few hours. That's why your friend there was able to suffocate me to unconsciousness."

"Hey, one more question: Time travel disallows taking anything other than your body, how did you manage to come through with clothes?"

"I have holographic projection systems that were luckily undamaged. The ones that project for my external appearances are semi-autonomous and don't require a lot of power." I replied.

"Holograms? You know what, I'm not even gonna ask. Here let me unbind you here..." she began.

I smiled as I neatly sliced the ropes with a holographic knife and stood up. "Thanks, but I don't need help with the simple things." I shrugged as she stared at me in mild shock.

"Clearly I can't truly contain you..." she muttered, "much like a machine."

"Speaking of machines, I gather your pretty friend here is a machine, right?" I asked.

"My name is Cameron, and yes, I am a machine. I am probably the only known friendly currently here, which is why I attacked you when I detected your exoskeleton." Cameron answered.

"I see. So what were you doing before I shoved myself into your presence?" I asked.

"We were preparing to go to a chess tournament to prevent a computer called 'The Turk' from gaining public eye, or at least destroy it." Sarah said.

"What? We're going to kill a chess computer?"

"Not just any chess computer. I have reason to believe it will be involved in the creation of Skynet."

"Ah. Well, I'm ready for anything normal that could be thrown at me. I probably can't take on another machine for a while until my systems are fully restored, but hand-to-hand combat and gunfire I can take." I said.

"Impervious to gunfire... "Sarah muttered then, "Well, we were about to leave anyway. Let's go."

When we got there I realized it was more like a computer science convention than just a tournament. Sarah turned to me and said, "You and Cameron stay here while I find the Turk. The tournament has begun already and I think the Turk is going to win judging by his position on the ladder." she said indicating an official's display. When she walked off, I turned to Cameron.

"So what do we do now?" I asked.

"We wait." she replied.

So I ended up cataloging the different displays. After a few minutes, I noticed that Cameron was still where I left her. "You stand out like an infected thumb!" I said as I walked back to her, "Try to blend in a little more. I don't think Sarah intended for you to literally stand here in this spot until she returned."

She glared at me for a fraction of a second, but said, "Understood." and began "randomly" looking at the displays. When she stopped at one I came over to see what caught her attention. She was looking at a humanoid robot that seemed to be making faces at here, but did not speak. On the computer monitor attached, Cameron's face was boxed as she looked at it in puzzlement.

"It appears to be a primitive emotion recognition device." I said as it continued to make various faces at Cameron. Suddenly, the log on the screen started showing red errors about Cameron's (relative) unresponsiveness to the robot. When it started saying reference pictures were being stored for analysis I began to worry.

"Cameron, I think you may be confusing it. You're supposed to react to its facial expressions, and since you aren't it's storing your picture for later. You don't want that, I gather?" I asked.

"No. My identity is to be kept secret. I must destroy this robot." she said as she raised her fist.

"No! You will call attention you yourself! Let me hack it and we will just need to stay out of the way. There is no need to destroy it." I said.

Plugging a holographic USB adapter into the machine, I began to erase the photos from the robot.

"Hey! What do you think you are doing!" exclaimed a scrawny kid. He had a hot dog and fries in his hands, which indicated that he was finishing lunch.

"Is this your exhibit, sir?" I asked.

"Yeah! What do you think you're doing? You can't go messing around with other people's stuff!"

"Why, yes I can. I was erasing our pictures from your robot's memory, since we do not need them there."

"I'm calling for security!" the geek said as he ran into Cameron.

"I think not." she said as she grabbed and held him. Then she looked at me and asked, "You probably have a nonviolent solution to this problem as well, don't you?"

"Well, if you can consider memory erasure nonviolent, then yes." I said as I approached the geek. I quickly injected nanoprobes into him and backed off, not willing to attract any more attention. In a few moments he suddenly jerked. Realizing he was being held by a rather attractive female, he asked, "Whoa! When did I score you, hot stuff?"

Cameron made a disgusted look, but a fraction of a second later it was gone as she harshly dropped him on the ground. "Did you really erase his memories?" she whispered at me as he dusted himself off.

"Watch." I quietly replied as he saw me.

"Um, hello there, I'm uh, Chris, and this is my exhibit," he began nervously, "it's a state of the art face expression recognition robot, here try it!" he continued as he pushed me back over to the robot, "It's still a little unlearned because it hasn't seen a lot of faces yet, but I think you'll be impressed by what it can do."

Realizing I still had my holographic USB dongle in the machine I quickly deactivated the program and it disappeared.

"Really?" I said, trying to act authentically interested.

"Just look at its' face and see how it reacts to you." Chris instructed.

I did try to satisfy the program, however it soon began displaying error messages as it had when Cameron was looking at it. As I put on a confused expression, Chris nervously explained, "Um, yeah, it does that a lot, sorry! Unfortunately years worth of work don't show very well when your project randomly fails at exhibitions..."

"Do you have the source code with you?" I asked, intending on pacifying the distressed enthusiast.

"What? Well, yes. Yes, would you like to see? Most of it is unoptimized but it should be working now. Why?"

"I'd like to see it. Are you the only one working on this project?" I asked.

"Yes, I'm doing this as a hobby. A very engaging hobby. Well, keep in mind that this code is supposedly copyrighted, and I would appreciate it if you didn't steal it. Here" he said as he opened up a folder full of source files and handed me the mouse and keyboard.

I opened several of the files and began rapidly scrolling through them one by one. This was a mess of incredible proportions!

"Do you realize how... messy... this code is? Here, let me recreate this project from scratch using your code as a base." I said as I opened a new editor window.

Typing rather fast (for I had forgotten to keep my actions in check in my excitement), I copied, rearranged, and rewrote Chris's code. About two minutes later, I was done.

"That should do it. Try compiling this." I told a dumbfounded Chris. Cameron just stared as she whispered, "I thought you were trying to call attention to yourself!"

"Meh. This small-scale hobbyist won't go telling anyone, and besides, I can erase the program just as easily as I erased your pictures." I replied.

"I can't believe this! You must be a programmer guru! We should partnership up!" exclaimed the hobbyist as he ran my program.