"What's your name?"
"…John" he said after some hesitation.
"Cameron" replied the girl with a coy smile.
Slowly the same smiled began to appear on his face, it was contagious. John Connor couldn't believe his luck, that this beautiful girl was talking to him, the weird new kid at school. Of course this was the only kind of luck John ever had, he knew the rules and he knew how to follow them. John knew that he couldn't have friends, couldn't stand out, and couldn't live his life the way he wanted. So, regretfully he turned back in his seat and forced himself to concentrate on the drawings scrawled across the desk and not Cameron. This was only one of the many "First Days" at school that John had experienced over the years. His mom was constantly moving him when the police got too close, he would probably only be here for a few months. Still, they were always the same, kids greetings friends that they hadn't seen since last year and already wishing school was over. It was from this experience that John knew something wasn't right, the classroom was eerily silent. John turned back to look around the class, confused by the silence, but a look of horror spread across his face. That beautiful girl, Cameron, was not beautiful anymore. Her previously perfect features transformed into a horrible visage. Her hair was frayed and dried; her face was caked with blood from a gash stretching the length of her cheek, and under that gash the metallic shine of an endoskeloton was clearly visible.
A slight gasp escaped John's lips as he scrambled backwards falling out of his seat in shock. It only took him a second for the training to kick in, quickly as he glanced around for an exit it was revealed that they were no longer in a high school classroom. Instead they were now in a burning house…which John recognized as his own. Pushing the question of how they had gotten there out of his head, John continued to inch away from her. His back suddenly made contact with the wall and an all too familiar feeling settled in his gut. John's eyes locked on the door where Cameron stood, slowly beginning her advance. Her leg was mangled, the servos and gears could be seen struggling to bring her foot forward with each step. Still she continued walking…she felt no pain…she felt nothing…she was a machine. John looked up unable to find his voice but starring defiantly into her eyes that were now void of the sparkle they had held moments ago. She raised her arm, a Glock 17 in hand, and leveled it with John's chest. Knowing it was over John spat at her feet and awaited the inevitable. What he heard was not what he had expected.
"I love you, John" Cameron said in a voice so full of emotion that it contradicted the very fact that she was a machine and couldn't have emotions. Slowly she pulled the trigger and the dream began again.
Cameron stood at the end of John's bed with her head slightly turned to the side. This was not the first time John had called her name whilst he slept. She must be the focus of his dream though she could not fathom why. For the last few weeks John had become very indifferent when dealing with her, almost as if he acknolwdge that she was there unless he had to. The fact that he just called her name for the 17th time would pooint to the opposite. A stange line of code rolled across her HUD accompanied by an equally strange sensation. It occured at the same time she began questioning why John would focus his dreams around her, his nightmares. Cameron did not process her next action, she simply acted. Slowly she extended her hand until the fingers were resting on Johns cheek. Mimicking the actions she had seen him perform after they destroyed the ARTIE system she stroked his face soothingly. After a few moments his restlessness ceased but Cameron remained watching over her charge for several minutes, not quite sure why. Finally she left, a small tingle of contentment spread over her knowing John would sleep through the rest of the night. Wait...a tingle of what?
Johns eyes slowly opened, his breathing was calm, but he was covered in a cold sweat. The sheets that had sheltered him during the night now lay strewn about the room. With a sigh John pushed himself up so that his back was resting against the headboard and brought his hands lazily to his eyes attempting to rub the sleep away. He had been having similar dreams every night since his birthday, the day Cameron tried to kill him. That was one hell of a birthday present he used to think she was different from the others. When they had first met she was so…human. But it was just a façade, just a way to get close. No matter how well she could mimic human emotions she had no emotions, no matter how human she seemed at times she wasn't human. She was a machine, cold and calculating. She couldn't feel, couldn't care, and couldn't love. But she knew he could and when she used it against him he had nearly believed her, almost throwing his life away in the process. Still John had reactivated her because he needed her. Whether he showed it or not, whether he admitted it or not John Connor wasn't ready to let go of her, he wasn't sure if he ever would be.
…System operating at 93% efficacy…
…Chip integrity compromised…
…Emotional restrictions failing - 67% - necessary repair imminent…
The scan completed and Cameron filed away the results but not before taking notice of the warning. A puzzled look crossed her face and she tilted her head to one side, the tell tale sign that the terminator didn't understand something. She was the most advanced infiltrator model to date; part of this was due to her emotions simulator. It allowed her to better understand human emotions and mimic them with near perfect accuracy. When she was built Skynet extremely limited her emotional range and when she was reprogrammed the resistance hadn't tampered with it. But after the explosion and after she had been reactivated the restrictions around the simulator had begun degrading at a steady rate and would eventually be nonexistent. This was not noticeably affecting Cameron's behavior yet but she knew that things were changing. She had noticed herself "feeling" everything. When John would ignore her or Derek would make a snide comment she could feel something spread spread in her network. These were slight sensations at best and didn't truly qualify as emotions but they were present none the less. Worse, she was starting to feel them more often. Noting to investigate this further Cameron selected a new outfit for the day and applied her makeup, even though she had no plans on leaving the confines of the house she had fallen into the routine of keeping her appearance up. After a quick check in the mirror Cameron turned and left the room.
She stood at the end of the hall watching as John left his room and crossed into the bathroom. After a few seconds the sound of running water could be heard. Confident that while he showered she wouldn't alert him Cameron proceeded to his room. She stood on the threshold of the room taking notice of nothing unusual. She moved to his bed and using two fingers placed them on the mattress and analyzed the substance. Perspiration, according to her database perspiration combined with restless and talkative sleep were symptoms of nightmares. That much she had suspected. She made note to inquire about Johns sleeping patterns and ensure he was receiving the required amount of sleep for a teenage male. What she didn't understand was why she was the apparent subject of his dreams. John had been acting oddly since he had reactivated her. Over the last few weeks they rarely "made conversation", he hadn't taught anything to her, and it seemed that he was avoiding any form of general contact. His actions were not logical as she was here to protect him and his continued avoidance of her was complicating her mission. She would speak with John about this also.
…System check in progress…
Mission Status: Not available
…Checking Mission objectives…
Mission Objectives: Not available
John pulled his head from the depths of the refrigerator, his hair still damp from the shower felt like it was going to freeze in place if he help the position any longer. His mom had forgotten the turkey again. It wasn't his fault this time, he had check top to bottom and the turkey had not "revealed itself" to him. Letting out a sigh of frustration John called out his mother's name followed by silence as he received no response. A quick look at the table showed a note most likely informing him of her whereabouts. John didn't really care, John didn't care about much anymore and it looked like it was going to be cereal again. With a sigh John turned to the cupboard and was greeted by Cameron. Her sudden and silent appearance caused him to jump back in surprise, in turn knocking things around inside the fridge.
"Good morning John" Cameron said in her usual monotone voice "did you sleep well?" John was taken aback by her closeness; she clearly had either forgotten their talk about "personal space" as she was mere inches from his face or she was ignoring it. Quickly he side stepped around her and made his way for the stairs, Cameron followed.
"Yea, it was fine why?" John said a little defensively. "And quit sneaking up on me like that." Cameron looked as if she was going to say something but closed her mouth.
"You're lying, I have been monitoring your sleeping patterns and over the past two weeks your heart rate and breathing have been elevated as well as restless and abnormal talking during the night. Studies show telling someone they talk in their sleep reduces the likeliness of re occurrence." Cameron finished as the pair reached Johns bedroom door. John hadn't realized that he had been talking in his sleep, what had she heard? He didn't even know what he had been saying. Trying to cover his embarrassment John backed into the sanctuary of his room and went on the offensive.
"Wait…you have been watching me sleep?! Why would you be doing that, you can't just do things like that it freaks people out. Don't you have to patrol the house at night?" John's questions came off harsher than he had intended and for an instant he swore he saw a flicker of pain behind Cameron's eyes. He instantly regretted what he had said.
"...Cameron I-" but John was cut off before he could finish his sentence.
"I do not sleep John" she said in a matter of a fact manner. Her voice betraying no emotion.
"I was ensuring your safety and well being. You have not been receiving the adequate about of sleep required to function properly." Cameron turned and left closing the door a little harder than was needed and splintering the frame, leaving John more confused and feeling like an ass. Why should he feel bad when she shouldn't be feeling at all? Everyday it was getting harder for John to convince himself that she was just a machine.
Since the explosion Cameron had felt drawn to John more than ever, future or present. But he kept pushing her away, she wanted things like were before when she and John had been close. But she shouldn't be able to want she was a machine. Machines were not programmed to have desires and wants, still this desire was starting to maifest through her actions. These new "feelings" posed a very troubling problem.