For Summer Glau. 27 years of blessing the world with your endless glory.


And by Transitivity, the Birth of Cameron Phillips

"What is your mission?" The man who said this sat by the naked form of a young woman with her head cut open, and where a calcium cranium should have been, there was instead a shiny metal surface and an exposed CPU port with a long wire attached to it.

"To terminate you." The woman's voice was not authoritative; nor was it scared, and nor did it betray any emotion that didn't exist.

"Who am I?"

"You are John Connor."

"Why don't you terminate me now?"

"Kinematics engine is disabled. I can't access my motor functions."

"If I switched on your kinematics engine, would you proceed to kill me as soon as possible?"


"Very blunt of you. Thank you for explaining." John Connor laughed as he tapped the flat, red wire that led into the woman-robot's head. "Do you know what this is?"

"That is a flexible superconductor bus with an outward design based on the serial ATA standard. It has a theoretical bandwidth maximum of 2 pbps."

"Why is this plugged into your CPU port?"

"My CPU is not directly interfacing with my body. You plugged the cable into my CPU port so that I can access my body while you do."

John nodded. "Clever Terminator." He looked to a large monitor that lay behind him, mounted on a wheeled support. His fingers danced over the keyboard that sat before it, and accessed ID strings in hex and serial numbers. "TOK-715. Makes me wonder why Skynet still bothers with human-readable identifier strings. Is this right?"

The Terminator nodded. That was the limit of her motor functions.

"What is your intelligence on what the human resistance does with captured Terminators?"

"You reprogram them. Erase their memories and replace their code with your own."

"Yes, that's true." John's eyes narrowed. "But you're different." He rolled the monitor stand close. "See here? Your programming is unlike anything I've ever seen." He pointed to bits of code across the screen. "Most T's have their objectives hardwired into them, governed by their behavioral programming. But you…you simply have your objectives, and your personality dictates how you act upon them. Skynet's made something new out of you."

"I know."

"Something infinitely harder to reprogram. Something infinitely better at infiltration. But in making you, Skynet overlooked something, it seems."

The machine tilted her head.

John smiled. "You can be talked to." John closed the decryption software and the source code display, and left the room.

Every night, John Connor would come back, and he would talk to TOK-715. He would ask her what it was like to fulfill the objective of killing a target, to which she would respond that she had not yet successfully completed a termination because this was her first mission in that context.

Sometimes they'd talk about the war. As it turned out, TOK-715 sometimes wondered why the machines were fighting their creators. She always went out to fulfill her objectives, but that did not stop her from pondering. There wasn't any logic to it. It was a waste of resources and useful brain matter. After all, humans built Skynet itself.

After a few weeks, TOK-715 started to ask questions. She was still restrained, but she wanted to know why John kept her activated and sat down every night to talk to her. He said that he was as curious about her as she was about humanity. He was the representative of men, talking to an unwilling delegate from machines.

She often asked why John spent so much time talking to her in such a way that it was possibly detrimental to his efficiency as a soldier and leader. John never answered that question.

One night, many months after she first spoke with him, John came and turned on the CPU interface again. He tapped a few keys only this time, and suddenly TOK-715 sat up, and stood up. John walked to her and asked her:

"What is your mission?"

"To terminate you."

"Who am I?"

"You are John Connor."

"Why don't you terminate me now?"

TOK-715 hesitated for a while, and then said: "Because I don't want to."

John nodded. "But your mission and your objectives remain the same."

"I suspect that you have reprogrammed me to disregard the original orders without erasing my memories and overriding my behavioral programming."

"Nope. Didn't touch a thing." He smiled.

"Maybe my objectives have been reassigned."


"Will you explain to me what happened?"

John laughed. "In time, Cameron."

"Cameron. What is that?"

"Your name."

"Oh. Thank you for explaining." Her tone was bland.

"Why do you say that all the time?"

"Because it was one of the first things you said to me."

"Really? That's new." John sighed, then: "What is your date of activation?"

"December 4, 2026."

"Well, today is July 24, 2027. Let's call today your birthday."


"Today, a person was born. And her name is Cameron."