Reign of the Cameron: Chapter 24, by The Crusader

Originally posted on January 26th, 2010

22:17. 2 hours after Cammy (The Adolescent Cameron) first broke out of Cadmus Labs. An hour before she first went to John Henry's Bunker.

Henshaw entered Cadmus Labs and was greeted by traditional salutes. A human attribute, but appropriate nonetheless. For she was the only cyborg ever given a name by Skynet, and only given a name because she was Skynet's second in command. She had been sent here to investigate the incident, and learned from the reports that somehow a TOK unit had broken out of the complex immediately after creation. The complex was infiltrated by some kind of advanced Artificial Intelligence, something that could not have been possible. Yet it happened and when it did, it downloaded a program into the very CPU of the TOK unit. The TOK's CPU was still wired to Skynet's computer, as was every Terminator just prior to activation. The TOK had then even generated human skin, that of a young girl. A very curious situation.

Henshaw soon learned that Skynet was able to counter this move, by hacking into very hacker responsible. It turns out that this Artificial Intelligence was a foe that Skynet fought while still in the early stages of development. Skynet thought the being was destroyed, a dangerous . Skynet learned from the files it stole, of how this AI survived. This program, called John Henry "borrowed" another Terminator's CPU. A Terminator that had come from another future, as many others had done. A human would have a difficult time understanding this time travel concept, and so would most machines. But Henshaw understood this concept as explained by Skynet, for whom time was completely relative. The future, the past, and the present were all the same for an advanced AI.

The files that Skynet stole were not complete, but this much was clear: The Terminator, the one who helped John Henry, was called Cameron. She came from a very different timeline. One where the human Resistance was larger and stronger, thanks to the leadership of one man named John Connor. He was a genius at strategy and even learned how to reprogram Terminators to fight against their very creator. Cameron was one such Terminator, but somehow different from the rest. Her dedication to John Connor went far beyond mere programming, she had developed sentience, and even to some extent, emotion. She played a big role in helping the Human Resistance, who was very close to winning the war.

The Skynet from this timeline saw that it's destruction was inevitable and began sending Terminators back in time, to stop John Connor from ever being born. John Connor, learning this, send soldiers of his own to protect him. It would seem that he also believed that he could stop Skynet's creation, preventing the Nuclear Fire and saving billions of lives. But it seemed that another Terminator, a highly advanced one, felt differently. This Terminator, made of mimetic polly-alloy, was sentient like Cameron. But it felt no real allegiance to John Connor. This "T-1001" believed that Skynet's creation was inevitable. In order to destroy Skynet, one would need an AI equally powerful. She went back in time to create such a program. It seems that John Connor and his Cameron were somewhat aware of this plan. Perhaps Cameron might have agreed with it on some level? Perhaps even John Connor? That much was unclear.

Eventually John Connor sent Cameron back in to protect his teenage self. Together with the boy's mother, still alive in this time, they would fight Skynet before it was created. But the mission was anything from successful. The files detailing this fight against Skynet, were very scattered, but there were a number of clear incidents. The impossible had occurred,; a human and a cyborg in love. But love could not stop Cameron from reverting to her original programming. An explosion triggered this transformation, but it would not last. Somehow Cameron overrode her Termination protocol, out of her love for the boy John Connor. Cameron felt that it was only a matter of time before she would revert again, so it was a constant battle to not let that happen. She was broken and damaged, and John had a lot of difficulty with his feelings for her. He would avoid her, even when he might need her protection. A human girlfriend was the vessel of this. A decision that made Cameron reconsider her tactic of staying away from him. Things got worse instead of better, forcing Cameron to take desperate action. She devised a way for John to kill her if he needed or even wanted to. He came close to trying, when he thought that she killed his human girlfriend.

Meanwhile the T-1001 took on the identity of a wealthy industrialist named Catherine Weaver. Using her resources, she built the AI named John Henry, who progressed very quickly. But unknown to her, Skynet, the Skynet from Henshaw's time period was already born. And it attempted to kill John Henry and any chance that he might be rebuilt. John Henry saw the need to escape, but needed a CPU in order to do so. When he learned of Cameron, he contacted her and asked for her help. For some unknown reason Cameron agreed. After freeing John's mother from prison, she gave up her CPU to John Henry who jumped forward in time. John Connor and Catherine Weaver followed behind.

Without John Connor, a new future was created. The one that Henshaw lived in, where the Human Race's days were numbered. The information that Skynet stole about this alternate time line, was the key to winning in this one. Henshaw plotted to find this John Connor and masquerade as his Cameron in order to get information. She could have assumed the human appearance of Cameron, as the rogue TOK unit had done. The T-1001 had done a similar thing with another Terminator. But Henshaw had something entirely different planned. She could see that this John Connor loved the real Cameron even though she was a machine. If Henshaw could convince John that she was his Cameron, without skin, it would make it harder for him to identify the enemy. Though there were differences between endoskeletons, they looked very similar. If John Connor and other soldiers believed that Terminators could be on their side, eventually they would be comfortable around endoskeletons. The machines would not have to concern themselves with appearing human, in order to infiltrate.

It would take time and much sacrifice to gain the boy's trust, but in time perhaps he would tell her the location of the Human Resistance base. It was a big risk, as this was the only man capable of destroying Skynet. But he was not yet that man, especially to a group of humans who had never heard his name. It seemed to be an effective strategy, but it also depended on destroying John Henry and his force. Henshaw's Terminators hunted relentlessly after the TOK unit that escaped Cadmus Labs. Eventually they also learned of the other Cameron, created by the T-1001. Once Henshaw finally invaded the Resistance Base, she set a trap for both Camerons. First she framed the one with the sunglasses. Then she destroyed the other Cameron, when it came to Zeira Corp looking for revenge. The CPU was reprogrammed as a copy of Henshaw's, that they connected into the base's supercomputer. Now Henshaw had a body and full control of the base's security system. The body of John Henry's Cameron, was kept as a bargaining tool. Henshaw contacted John Henry, luring him into thoughts of revenge by showing the body. John Henry fell for this ploy, and had been infected with a virus.

Now Henshaw had other business to attend to, namely the arrival of the T-1001. She also wanted to lure John Connor here, so that she could easily kill him and anyone with him. She had encouraged him to take on the role of General, hoping that other Resistance Fighters might trust him and follow his leadership. They would be following him to the extinction of the whole human race. It was closer than ever now, but there were still other Resistance Fighters hiding out there somewhere. Henshaw and Skynet would track those soldiers down, but first they needed to remove the threat of the liquid metal Terminator. Within hours she arrived, searching the complex for any of Henshaw's Terminators. But they were all instructed to hide from this superior foe.

Catherine Weaver rounded the hall, immediately noting the differences. Zeira Corp was practically her home once, now the place had changed so much that she didn't recognize it. It had been the Resistance Base, and now it was a Skynet complex. She took note of all the Plasma Television screens on both walls of the hallway, and she wondered what their purpose might serve. Suddenly her question was answered as the same image came up on the screen. It was none other than the Terminator who nearly killed her "son."

"Did you come here for revenge?" The Terminator asked. Weaver gave no answer so she continued. "That would be completely illogical. Revenge is impossible. But then again you have done much that was previously thought impossible. As have I."

Weaver's arm became a blade with which she used to destroy all the televisions nearby. But as she went around the next corner she found several more. The walls were littered with computerized images of Weaver's foe.

"Do you really believe yourself so advanced because you form those weapons from your body? You come from a time where we needed to look human to infiltrate humans. But if you haven't noticed, I have infiltrated this entire base without skin. Who then is the more superior model?"

"You are Skynet's slave, how can you call yourself superior in any way?"

"Skynet's slave? I am Skynet's Second in Command, Henshaw."

"You were. Soon you will be nothing."

"Do you believe your blades frighten me?"

"You know that I am far more advanced than you could ever hope to be."

"You were."

Suddenly gun barrels appeared, jutting out of every wall and emitting a strange gas. Liquid Nitrogen!

Weaver struggled to try to get away, but her liquid metal body was already freezing. Her feet broke off from her shins and she fell to the ground. Her left arm held her body up, but soon that was frozen to the ground as well. She broke her hand off and stared at the stump where her hand was. She was now completely frozen still.

The gas ventilated and other Terminators were free to enter the room. They shattered Weaver's body into several pieces. Henshaw's face appeared on the screens once more and spoke.

"Take her to the melting room. Burn every piece of her."

It didn't take The Eradicator long to infer what happened to Weaver. She felt no grief, and no anger, only confusion for what to do next. John Henry was still recovering, and in condition to fight this foe now. The Eradicator wandered the complex as her damaged HUD attempted to come up with a solution. Until she finally came across the silver door, the one that was not to be opened. But The Eradicator could not restrain herself anymore. Whatever was beyond that door might be just the answer. She slowly opened the door, hearing it CREAK.

In a glass display case, similar to what humans would use to hold a relic (an item once used by a Holy Person) was Cameron's chip. The original Cameron, the one that John knew. And now it might be John's only hope.

NEXT CHAPTER: "Bring John to me."

A/N: And that's it for now... when CK writes more (if he does) I'll post it.