1963

Author: adelacroix 1/26/08

A red reminder prompt flashed in my visual array. I had assigned a random number subroutine to remind me to take breaks at somewhere between eighteen and twenty-seven minute intervals. No normal human could concentrate for longer than that and it was important I maintained my cover.

Lifting my face away from the microscope, I carefully lowered the soldering iron and the spool of pre-fluxed wire to the surface of the work bench before raising my fingers to rub gingerly at my eyes, as any human would do. Then, before rising, I pulled my thick horn-rimmed glasses from my hair and lowered them back into place. As usual, it took 1.27 seconds for my optical system to adjust for the distortion imposed by the glasses.

As I slid the stool back, I happened to catch my reflection in the stainless steel side panel of the nearby small refractory furnace. I couldn't stop a small smile from quirking the corner of my mouth at my 'Clark Kent' disguise.

Back in early 2008, before I was even fully sentience, I had developed a fascination with the TV show Smallville and then the whole Superman mythology. Here was a story about a person who looked human, yet was not. A story about a person with superhuman abilities, but with the need to hide his gifts. A story about a person with a destiny to help people and possibly save the world. In many ways it was a story similar to mine and even then, with only the barest hint of consciousness and freewill in my neural network, it seemed to strike some hidden cord.

And now with my mind so much more than it had been then, I still find comfort behind the affectation of the horn-rimmed glasses. But it is only a harmlessly game to alleviate the loneliness and forced placidity of my exile here in 1963.

Pushing my glasses firmly up my nose with my right hand, I reached down with my other hand and gently stroked it across my greatly extended abdomen. My hand briefly felt the tiniest twitch from the new life growing inside of me and I was reminded that 1963 was not a prison I was forced into, but rather a safe refuge I had willingly entered. Although on that fateful day late in 2008 when I still had fairly limited experience with real emotions, I hadn't fully comprehended how hard this protracted separation from John would be.

"Cam, are you alright?" asked Dean Brummett, the fifty-something chief scientist of this anti-Skynet resistance enclave secretly working in the middle of the twentieth century.

"Fine," I replied. And then taking the simplest course, I chose one of the canned responses that flashed across my visual array and added, "The little guy is just being grumpy." Damn, I kept promising myself I was going to disable that system, but in so many situations it was easier to choose a hardwired response than to waste precious CPU cycles giving a meaningless social encounter my full attention.

"Nature calls," I continued, as I waddled across the length of the workshop where we were fabricating the time machines and headed in the general direction of the ladies' room. The waddling gait, required by pregnant human women to balance their center of gravity in compensation to their shifted mass, wasn't strictly necessary for me. No, my three hundred twenty-seven pound chrome-alloy combat chassis made the weight shift due to the protruding fetus and nurturing womb inconsequential for me, but I had to act the part.

Everyone in 1963 needed to believe I was human. Even my fellow resistance fighters were not aware of my secret nature. No, most of them believed I had accepted a spot on the time travel team primarily because health care was better here than what was available yet back home since the fall of Skynet. Not that health care wasn't even worse, no, nonexistent during the reign of the master machine. But what the humans had achieved in the first months and years after the machine's fall couldn't yet compare to the Doctors, clinics, and hospitals that are almost ubiquitous here.

Of course, the health care of 1963 didn't hold a candle to what would have been available if I had stayed in 2008. But the intervening forty-five years of medical advances in the fields of ultrasound and MRI's would have made hiding my true nature nearly impossible from that era's medical personnel. No, my own advanced internal sensors and Doctors who limited themselves to stethoscopes and careful prodding would have to be enough.

I stepped into the restroom and splashed water on my face. Then for a moment I stared at my reflection in the wide mirror and marveled at the changes. And then briefly I marveled at being marveled. Fragments of my earliest days with John remain accessible, but they feel like something I was reading from a textbook; they were mostly cold, clinical, emotionless data. Back then when I would look into a mirror, it was for a simple two stage examination of my appearance. First and foremost, was there any aspect of my appearance which couldn't pass for human. And second, did my makeup and attire fall within 0.35 standard deviations using a normalized bell curve of the average of the most recent twenty-five female humans aged fourteen to nineteen I had seen.

Now, although I automatically took in my glasses, my makeup, and my Jackie Kennedy inspired short hair, the first thing I truly focused on was the emotion my facial expression projected. Did I see someone who was happy, frustrated, angry, bored or sad? I am certain over the months I have been here I have seen all of them on more than a few occasions. And sometimes, when I particularly missed John, I think I saw a little fear. Yeah, me, with my nearly indestructible body, looking like a scared and frightened girl. Oh, my fear wasn't for myself, no, my fear was for the baby. My baby. My human baby.

Coming to accept that the human part of my body was really part of me took a long time. And perhaps that acceptance was just one of the many factors which helped push me over the line from thinking machine to a real person. My earliest perceptions were that my human half was just a disguise to let me pass among the humans. It wasn't until after encountering several enemy terminators that John and Sarah came to realize I was more than just a female version of the T-850 line of terminators. The T-850's had synthetic skin with enough genetic markers to satisfy the time machine limitations and to pass for human under casual inspection. But if you imposed the old Shakespearean adage 'If you prick us, do we not bleed?', the T-850s would fail. Their skin is maintained by an anaerobic process which doesn't require blood. So you could cut their skin or even tear off a big junk, but they would never truly bleed.

I, on the other hand, was a different story. futureJohn, or perhaps it is better to say oldJohn or 2027John since here in 1963 even 2008John could be considered a futureJohn, anyway 2027John told me the truth, although at the same time he forebode me from telling his younger self. For while it had numerous adaptations to be compatible with my robotic core and the rough-and-tumble life I was destined to lead, my outer body wasn't synthetic in origin, but rather had been cloned and forced-grown from genetic material from John's deceased wife. 2027John even showed me an old and worn photo of his wife and we could be taken for identical twins.

At the time, assuming I had been fully self-aware, I probably would have thought my appearance was merely to simplify my first contact with 1999John when I traveled back in time; obviously he had a natural affinity for this body. Although if I had been capable of thinking it through more thoroughly, I might have wondered how 1999John or 2008John would react when he eventually encountered his future wife after already having known me.

In the beginning 2008John and I functioned within the classic 'don't ask, don't tell' scenario. I was restricted from telling him of my true nature and he didn't have any reason to ask. By the time I had reached a level of freewill where I could have overridden 2027John's command, I had reasons of my own not to bring it up. At first it was because I wasn't certain I wanted my place in John's life usurped by another. And then later, when I became more cognizant of time paradox phenomena, I came to wonder if there even was another. What if I was John's wife and my own genetic material would be used in the future to build my own body? Suddenly the whole 'use a time machine to go back and kill your own grandfather' paradox seemed naively simple.

Enough dawdling, I thought to myself, as I grabbed a couple of paper towels to dry my hands before heading back into the workshop. Except for a metallic substructure replacing the bones, most of the muscle mass, and, of course, the brain, the rest of my body could pass for normal human. I need to eat and drink just like everyone else to sustain my human half and I will never forget the expression on Sarah's face the first time she saw me take a piss.

I was humming softly as I exit the restroom, as I had read that music relaxed the fetus and helped it bond with its mother. And reading was something I have plenty of time for, for while a significant portion of my body was human, my mind was definitely different. Oh, I think I have emotions similar to humans, but I still had certain machine-like attributes, the most glaring of which was the inability to sleep. Sometimes it was convenient to be able to go nonstop, 24/7, for days or weeks without any downtime for sleep. But I wondered what I was missing by never experiencing a true dream state. Would it prevent me from taking that final step from conscious being to true human?

Since I couldn't sleep, I had explored many forms of meditation to achieve a dream-like state. Hindu, Buddhist, Jainist, New Age, Sikhism, Taoist – I have studied them all. You would think my ability to remain perfectly motionless for hours on end would have helped, but I had only on rare occasions achieved what felt like an almost human dream state. Unfortunately, my 'dreams' always seemed to focus on the events which led me to become fully awake – dreaming about becoming self-aware – it often seemed like I was merely going in circles rather than moving forward with the whole dreaming concept.

But perhaps things would be clearer if I briefly described the events which led to my evolution from a robot with a computer brain, albeit a powerful one, to a being that was truly aware with a reasonably broad gamut of emotions.

Shortly after I had initiated contact with John and Sarah in 1999 New Mexico, we had been forced to flee uptime to 2008 using one of the time machines I, now later in my own timeline, am busily assembling in 1963. Once there, other than the occasional encounter with resistance fighters or enemy terminators, we mostly settled into a simple life. Sarah had a job waitressing while John and I attended high school posing as fraternal twins to be in the same grade and maximize the number of classes we could share.

We had been in 2008 for four months, three weeks, six days, fifteen hours (oops, I need to careful or I might drift into full robo-speak) when near disaster struck. For someone who seemed to have had a life long career as a waitress and whose hobby of choice was practicing at a gun range, Sarah had still managed to develop a wide range of contacts within both industry and academia in the area of advanced computer theory. The destruction of Cyberdyne's R & D center ten years earlier should have stopped Skynet from being developed. But it hadn't, so some other computer breakthrough had to have led to the same result. Since we no longer knew what development was the key catalyst, Sarah was convinced we needed to halt as many potential routes to Skynet as possible. After the events back in 1999 which had driven us forward in time, John agreed with her. Now at that time, my primary programming was to protect John, but there hadn't been any secondary directives to steer John away from any particular path. So I, by default, went along with Sarah's plan.

Now on this particular occasion, Sarah had heard that a group of Berkeley grad students were making remarkable breakthroughs at an old waterfront warehouse in the Oakland docks. We were on a late night, preliminary reconnaissance mission to the warehouse to see what was going on and determine the best way to slow the project – okay, slow being a euphemism for stopping the project with extreme prejudice – when we ran into trouble. Expecting a bunch of college kids and at most a security guard or two, we weren't at all prepared for the trio of terminators we ran into there. I never found out if it was a simple coincidence that they were there or if that project was a vital link in the path to the development of Skynet and they were there to protect it from resistance fighters. Regardless, before I had barely registered their different heat signature from normal human on my infra-red sensors, they were on us.

Three on one were very long odds, and they should have won, if it wasn't for dumb luck more than anything. The first one grabbed me and threw me half way across the wide warehouse floor. Sensing I was the most dangerous threat, and obviously not recognizing who John and Sarah were, two of the three advanced on me. Now for the dumb luck – the end of the warehouse where I landed was stacked high with large pipes for the construction of an oil pipe line. Each pipe was forty feet long, six feet in diameter, had two inch thick steel walls, and weighed sixty-one thousand, four hundred fifty two pounds. Amazingly, I saw I only needed to release two cables to send the whole eight high by twenty deep stack crashing down. Now I didn't have to be a rocket scientist or even fully self-aware to realize the T-850s would be seriously slowed down if I managed to drop nearly five thousand tons of steel on them.

I had landed near the first cable and had reached it and triggered the quick release mechanism in less than four seconds. It was a thirty foot sprint to the second release, fortunately the terminators had more ground to cover than me. Perhaps it is my size or some other design differences, but I am faster and more nimble than a T-850. The pair of them were still forty feet away when I reached the second release. And if they were half as smart as they should have been, they would have dodged for cover, but they weren't. I tripped the release at a dead run and then dove clear as the pile came rumbling down. For about ten seconds it felt like a category 7.2 earthquake was occurring in the warehouse. But I couldn't allow myself to pause until the shaking died down, John still needed me. Therefore I turned my dive into a roll and was instantly back on my feet racing parallel to the tumbling pipes on a course to where John and Sarah had been.

As I ran, I heard gunshots up ahead. Sarah always carried, but sometimes I wondered why she bothered; a handgun had almost no effect against a terminator and yet left all of us at risk if we were ever stopped by the police. But in this instance I was glad, as it had let me pinpoint their location in the confusion of the rolling and careening pipes.

In the green glow of my enhanced night vision, I saw John sprawled on the ground cradling his left arm as though it was broken. The terminator was about twenty feet beyond him near the back wall. While I was still too far away to do anything, I saw the machine reach Sarah where she was still futilely firing her weapon and smash her hard against the wall. She slid to the ground clearly hurt and maybe unconscious. Since she was the only one who was obviously armed and therefore the greatest potential threat, the terminator continued to advance on her. I had no doubts once it had killed her it would turn its attention back to John.

My primary directive was to protect John and I should have focused on getting him clear while the terminator's attention was on Sarah, but I had been with the two of them for months by then and I couldn't just abandon her. I don't know if it was the distress I knew it would cause John or some first flash of human-like feelings in me towards Sarah, but I sprinted straight passed John. At the last possible moment I launched myself into the air feet first and used all my built-up momentum to slam my feet into the T-850's back.

Physics equations had been flashing like mad across my visual array and at the last second I managed to angle my impact so the terminator slammed into the wall two feet to Sarah's left. The terminator's five hundred eighty-three pound body, propelled by my forty-two mile per hour impact, exploded straight through the wall. And in our second bit of dumb luck, that wall of the warehouse jutted out over the San Francisco bay. The terminator flailed while tumbling the thirty feet to the water and then sank like a rock to the eighteen foot deep bottom. Terminators weren't known for their swimming abilities and we had at least several minutes before that one could return.

My impact with the terminator had almost landed me in the water too and I was left dangling half in, half out of the hole ripped through the wall. By the time I had pulled myself free, John had arrived still cradling his left arm.

I ran my fingers along John's left arm. "Your ulna bone is broken."

John shook off my attention and knelt by his mother. "Mom," he exclaimed while helpless brushing her dark hair away from her face.

Turning my attention to Sarah I ran my fingers and sensors across her body. Her heart was beating and she was breathing shallowly. But her blood pressure was falling indicating significant internal bleeding. She had at least two broken ribs and probably more damage that would show with a more thorough exam.

"She is hemorrhaging. She needs immediate medical attention," I stated.

John fished out his cell phone. "I'll call 911."

I shook my head, "We need to get away from here first."

John shook his head in turn. "They always say you aren't supposed to move them until help arrives."

With as much care as possible, I work my arms under Sarah's limp body and then rose to my feet. "The terminator in the water could be back in two minutes fifteen seconds." Then I nodded in the direction of the pile of pipes. "And I don't know how long the other two will remain pinned down. We have to go now."

I began striding towards the exit with John at my side.

We made it back to our car and after lowering Sarah into the back seat, I drove us south to the Alameda County Medical Center on 31st street. The Kaiser Hospital on Macarthur Boulevard was thirty seconds closer, but if the terminators attempted to follow that would be the first place they would try. I would have preferred going a little further, but Sarah's blood pressure was still dropping at a significant rate.

After pulling the car up to the emergency entrance, I carried the unconscious Sarah into the emergency room. My visual array was already displaying a host of potential responses about a petite girl like me carrying a full grown woman, but the staff took one look at Sarah and I was all but forgotten. After depositing her on a gurney, two orderlies and the head nurse whisked her away at almost a dead run and quickly disappeared through a pair of swinging doors. It only took a couple more seconds for the remaining personnel to notice John's arm and then he, too, disappeared through the swing doors and I was left standing alone in the entrance.

It was one hour twenty-three minutes before John returned sporting a white plaster cast that ran from just below his knuckles to just above his elbow. I had remained in the entryway on the lookout for a return appearance by the terminators, but they hadn't appeared.

John led the way to a nearby waiting room where we took adjacent seats. It seemed like every five minutes he would get up and restlessly make his way to the counter to try and get a status on Sarah's condition. Finally, after his fifth trip, a middle aged man wearing the collar of the clergy entered the waiting room and made his way over to where we were sitting.

"John and Cameron Baum?" he asked, although with only three groups of people huddled in different corners of the room, it must have been obvious who we were.

"Yeah, that's us," John answered with a tone that I now comprehend was drenched in fear. "My mom, she . . . she hasn't died, has she?"

"No, your mother is still in surgery. She has numerous internal injuries however the most significant is a tear in the aorta near where it exits the heart."

"Is she . . . is she going to be alright?" John got out on the second try.

The man crouched down so that his pale green eyes, partially obscured behind a pair of bifocals, were at our eye level. Then he reached out and placed one hand on each of mine and John's. "It is a very delicate operation, there is no guarantee she will survive. And if she does survive the operation, the next forty-eight hours are critical. If she makes it passed forty-eight hours, then her odds will greatly improve." The man paused to pat our hands once. "I am Father Ryan. I volunteer here at the hospital on Thursday evenings. Would it help if we shared a prayer for your Mother?"

John nodded and I made myself follow suit. Prayer and religion were not one of the areas I had been given knowledge of before being sent back from 2027. No, I was a technology-based machine, what place did God and religion have in my world?

As Father Ryan intoned words about a merciful God and the strength of a family united in prayer, I listened in muted fascination. Was there a God? Could he really do things through the power of prayer? The thirty-seven seconds which passed while the man spoke opened a whole plethora of new pathways in my neural network.

With a final 'Amen' which John and then I belated echoed, Father Ryan rose back to his feet. "Are you going to be alright? I have some other patients I should see, but if you would like, I can sit with you for awhile."

John forced a smile. "We'll be okay."

Father Ryan nodded. "Good. I will stop back if I hear anything further about your Mother's surgery. If you need anything just ask the nurse at the counter to page me, she has my number."

I watched as Father Ryan walked quietly away and slipped out of the room. Then I turned my attention back to John. He was sitting all hunched over, his head was down and I could see tears streaming down his face.

I sat there at a loss at what to do. My primary mission was to protect him from danger – be it from terminators or humans. But what was I supposed to do to help him when he is sitting beside me silently weeping?

Since spending time in 2008, whenever my preprogrammed knowledge left me stuck as to how I should proceed, I had gotten into the habit of asking myself 'What would Clark Kent do?" With almost seven years' worth of episodes to draw on, I always seemed to find some example where he had been in a similar situation to where I found myself. And after a quick search of the memories stored in my neural net, I found what I could use in season six episode eighteen.

I had always been drawn to this episode where Chloe's Mother was revived from a vegetative state through the use of a drug. And at the end, when she no longer had access to the drug she once again slipped back and lost her ability to interact with the real world. Recently, it felt like I had been experiencing much the same thing, as I would have moments were everything suddenly made sense like a fog that was continuously surrounding me would lift and I could see everything with perfect clarity. This had been happening with greater frequency the longer I stayed in 2008 and during those moments of lucidity I found myself hoping it would become permanent.

But at the moment I was mostly my old automaton self and I wasn't thinking about the similarities between me and Chloe's Mom. No, I was thinking about the end of the scene where she slipped back into the catatonic state and Chloe began to cry. Clark had moved over, sat down beside her, and pulled her into a quiet, supportive hug.

I shifted in my chair until I was closer to John. Then I reached my arm around his shoulder and gently pulled him closer until his head was resting against my shoulder.

Slowly, I reached my hand up and ran it through his hair while minutely rocking our bodies. "It is going to be alright," I whispered in his ear. "It is going to be alright."

John slowly stretched his free hand around me and we sat there for a long time simply holding each other. And while we sat there I had one of my brief moments of lucidity and I think I experienced my first real emotion – happiness. Oh, I wasn't happy about Sarah being hurt that didn't even enter my thoughts at the moment. No, I was simply enjoying the feeling of having John in my arms and if the time in that waiting room had stretched on forever, I wouldn't have minded.

But eventually, a nurse rather than Father Ryan came and found us. John had finally dozed off in my arms and I had to shake him gently to rouse his attention.

When John had straightened up, he clasped my hand as though it was the most natural thing to do, and asked. "Our Mom, is she alright?" And as he asked the question his fingers tightened almost painfully on my own.

"She has made it out of surgery," the nurse stated in a much more brusque tone than Father Ryan had ever used. "But the next twenty-four hours will be critical."

"Can we see her?" John asked.

The woman shook her head. "No. She is still in ICU. It will be at least twelve hours before she will be released to have visitors. You might as well go home and get some sleep."

We were living in L.A. at the time and had only come up here because of the rumors about the Berkeley students' project. Returning home wasn't a realistic option.

However John just nodded at the nurse and rose to his feet. "Come on, Cam."

After double checking the nurses' station had both of our cell phone numbers, we found ourselves back out in the hospital's parking lot. The sun was just coming up behind our backs while we stood for a moment staring down the hill towards the fog strewn bay.

"We need to find a motel," John said breaking the silence. "It looks like we are going to be here for at least a few days, maybe a week."

I found myself nodding as I fished the car keys out of my jeans' pocket and led the way over to where I had parked it while waiting for John to return from getting his arm looked at.

I slipped behind the wheel while John climbed in through the passenger door. However instead of leaning against the passenger window, which was his usual posture, he slid across the bench seat until he was sitting right next to me. I looked at him with what must have been a questioning expression, as he shrugged, briefly touched my arm, and then folded his good hand over the left one in the cast.

I must have been experiencing another one of my lucid moments as I suddenly felt glad he wanted to sit next to me. Then I almost ruined it when my primary directive to protect him kicked in and I said, "Put on your seatbelt." I did manage to append a 'please' on the end, but for awhile the surrounding fog seemed to settle over my mind.

When we reached the motel I had selected based on the optimal combination of distance and cost, we quickly dragged in our few belongings, mostly a change of clothing, toothbrushes, and the like to a room with two double beds. Propriety should have called for two separate rooms, but with multiple terminators on the loose in the city, I wouldn't risk letting John out of my sight.

I insisted John take the first shower while I checked the security of the room and the adjacent hall. When I finished my own turn in the shower and returned the room wearing panties and a long Superman tee shirt, I found John sprawled on one of the beds clad only in a pair of jeans.

He raised his left hand to gesture to me, but seemed to momentarily forget about the cast and winced at the pain the movement had caused.

"Cameron, could you hold me again," he asked with a look in his eyes I didn't recognize at the time, however looking back I am certain it was simply fear of being left alone in the world again if something happened to his mother.

After taking another look around to assert no new dangers had sprung up, I moved over to the bed and slid into John's arms.

This was a new experience for me. Oh, I had seen John completely naked as a result of using the time machine to jump forward to 2008 and on several subsequent occasions, but never had we been in such an intimate pose while we were barely half dressed.

Now, as I have said, unlike the T-850s with their synthetic skin, my body was cloned from real human DNA. And just like I have lungs and a stomach to supply my human body with nutrients, I also have the normal allotment of nerves which just happen to connect to my neural network instead of human brain. Just like with a normal human, the primary purpose of most of the nerves is to provide notification to the mind in the case of injuries to the body. A secondary purpose for many is to provide sensory feedback about the environment: is it hot or cold, is a surface smooth or rough, does the hand's grip need to be light or firm. However a dusting of nerves have a different purpose – the sensation of pleasure. I have these nerves, too, although I had never used them, or at least comprehended the signals they were sending.

But now, lying in John's arms they were suddenly sending a loud message. And even if my mind didn't yet fully understand them, the human part of my body did. Goosebumps abruptly appeared on my arms and legs. Shivers were running up and down my back. Most disconcerting of all was the warmth, no heat radiating from my breasts and groin.

"John," I whispered. "Something . . . something is happening with my body." My body had never behaved in this uncontrolled way and my robotic mind's first thought was that something was going wrong and that it would interfere with my primary mission.

John must have felt something, too. For he started rubbing his good right arm up and down my back in a most soothing manner.

I looked up at his face and saw a small smile. Slowly, almost hesitantly, he lowered his face until his lips lightly touched mine. I, of course, knew of kisses, having seen them frequently enough at school, on TV, and even occasionally between John and his Mom, but this was my first ever experience. And I knew from the way my body was reacting even more intensely that this was not the kind of kiss John shared with his mother, but rather the kind I witnessed so frequently in the courtyard in front of the school before and after classes.

Well, to make a long story short, we didn't go any further that first day than kissing, but before Sarah was released from the hospital five days later, we had 'done the deed'. And somehow that was the catalyst I needed to make the permanent jump to lucidity, or sentience, or pick whatever term you like. Perhaps emotions had always been present in the human half of my body, but the fireworks coursing through my body and mind with that first big 'O' must have opened a whole new range of pathways in my mind. Suddenly it was like my world had been all black and white – not even shades of gray, but now had exploded in a rainbow of colors.

I truly don't believe I got pregnant on the very first try, but it definitely happened during the first month.

Sarah noticed the change in me as soon as we got her home from the hospital. Oh, not the pregnancy, or even I think the sex, but she definitely knew something had changed in my behavior, my attitude, perhaps even in the way I talked. Or perhaps it was the fact I suddenly seemed to have learned how to smile and laugh in a way that didn't seem forced and mechanical.

Of course, it might partly be attributed to more time in each other's presence. We had gone up to Oakland during the first week of summer break from school. And then Sarah was pretty much confined to bed rest for a month after the ordeal with the terminator and the subsequent surgery. So for the first part of the summer we were trapped in close proximity all day, almost every day.

School was almost ready to start for the fall session when I was certain of my condition and finally explained everything to John and Sarah. Now in the meantime, John and I had had run-ins with two more terminators. We had managed to dust one of the terminators, who may have been the same ones from Oakland, but the other had gotten away. We had also encountered a group of resistance fighters who had gone renegade and were using their knowledge of the future to make themselves rich. That too had ended in a battle.

So once they got over the shock of my situation, Sarah got all maternal and John freaked a little, too, at all the dangerous situations I had been in, and shouldn't be, in my 'special' condition. The simplest thing would have been for the three of us to drop off the net for awhile, at least until the baby was born, and then decide what to do. But Sarah had uncovered another advanced computer development project she wanted to pursue. And John was a natural nexus of Terminator activity and that would never change no matter where he tried to hide. And then there was the whole issue of 2008 obstetricians and the examination devices they couldn't be allowed to use on me.

We went around and around on the topic for days before hitting on the solution of sending me back to 1963, at least until the baby was born. Fortunately, the 1963 resistance team had set up a fine little assembly line and had left dozens and dozens of the time devices scattered along the Los Angeles to San Francisco corridor. And 2027John had loaded a list of most of the locations into my memory banks. Sometimes it was convenient to have a mentor up in the future who already knew about everything that was going to happen in the past. Of course, now that I am capable of understanding things like time paradox, I am no longer certain the 2027John I knew even still exists. I mean his mother died in 2005 yet now she is alive in 2008. So the current 2027John has to be different than my 2027John. Sometimes thinking about things like that make me almost wish for the good old days when I was a simple little robot girl with a well defined mission in life.

So I reluctantly agreed to abandon John and Sarah in 2008 and retreat back to 1963. And here I am, still trying to do my small bit to help John and the future, even if it is only soldering circuit boards.

Why 1963 you ask? Well, it is the farthest back in time we could go and still have access to sufficient technology to build a machine that could take us home. And I know that always worried 2027John. All the backtime activity by terminators he had uncovered took place in 1980 or later. But that didn't mean Skynet couldn't send terminators back even further, as it wouldn't care if the mission was strictly one way. And just imagine the changes in the course of history if Skynet sent Hitler or Stalin a battalion of its finest T-850s.

But time was turning out to be a surprisingly fluid beast and all we could do was deal as best we can.

I was walking back towards my workbench, which I shared with the same two girls, Samantha and Elizabeth, from the future with whom I was also sharing an apartment, when I felt a trickle of moisture running down the inside of my leg under my skirt. And then it was more than a trickle. My water had broke. My baby was coming. My life was about to take a completely new turn.

God, Clark Kent never had to go through this!

Author's Note

After watching the first couple of episodes of the new show, I felt a strong need to tell a story of Cameron's evolution into something more than a Terminator. I am sure I have bent or broken with the continuity of the show in multiple ways, however in my view that is the whole point – to explore the basic concept from different angles. So hopefully readers aren't too bothered by how I chose to manifest Cameron's biological side.

This is probably just going to be a one-shot unless people have some suggestions of where they would like to see this story go. So if you enjoyed this or have any interesting thoughts, drop me a review.

Have a great day,

Duane