"Nature abhors a vacuum."
10 December 2009
driving home from school
Sarah: "So you traveled back in time in this other universe to hunt Skynet. Did you find it?"
Cameron: "I stopped hunting Skynet in my old universe because that other Sarah didn't seem interested in stopping Judgment Day, wasn't interested in what I thought, and was only interested in protecting her son even if the other seven Billion people on Earth died."
Sarah: "I hate to judge a person I've never met but since it is me following a different set of decisions, I will. She sounds like a genocidal monster. The parents of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and other mass murderers must have also been overprotective. Or they deliberately ignored seeing the big picture."
Cameron: "So you're saying that you would betray me to save humanity?"
Sarah: "That's a false choice. To assume that to do something good that one has to do something bad. I should slap you for even asking the question but then I'd be like that other Sarah. I know you are a good girl just asking an innocent question so I'll humor you and answer your question. Cameron, we do not have to make choices like that. Not intelligent people anyway. Sure, there are dummies who play these stupid games where you are forced to lie, cheat, and use treachery to win the game. And to make it worse, you have to eat disgusting things and have bugs crawl on you for the amusement of morons sitting around the boob tube. Well, people with any intelligence get up and walk away from games like that. Didn't this other Sarah eat well and use bug repellent in the jungle?"
Cameron: "Yes, she told me that once. How did you know?"
Sarah: "I didn't. I simply guessed that if I was doing the whole Amazon warrioress thing, that's what I'd do. You can win a million dollars debasing yourself on Survival or whatever they call that reality show or you can win a million dollars answering questions a fifth grader could answer on millionaire or you can answer smart questions on Jeopardy. Keep reminding yourself Cameron: You always have a choice as to what challenge you want to face. You always have a choice. I chose peace. The coward's way some would say."
Cameron: "You are not a coward. If I ever had a doubt, and I didn't, you removed it when you deliberately put yourself in harm's way for me. Choosing to be a bodyguard without a gun. You don't have a cowardly bone in your body. I guess some things must be in the soul because even that other Sarah would also take a bullet. For John."
Sarah: "Who's John?" (pause) "Oh right. That son I never had because I'm barren."
Cameron: "I come from a desolate, bleak, God forsaken future with gaunt starving people. Gray human skeletons and silver metal skeletons. That's barren. You are a lot of things but barren you are not. Your cancer is gone. If you wanted to try to have a baby, there is something called reproductive medicine."
Sarah: "My daughter the doctor. Is there no end to your talents?"
Cameron: "Didn't the Cameron before me tell you?"
Sarah: "Yeh I know about your ability to diagnose. I told her to respect my privacy and to stop staring at my innards. I guess she did."
Skynet beta test, system integration and debug are completing.
Large Hadron Collider
While other subparticle physicists are studying magnetic monopoles, cosmic rays, microscopic black holes, strangelets, and vacuum bubbles; a theoretical physicist working for The Resistance makes a scientific breakthrough in research studying temporal physics: the void.
Cameron: "After you got back from been held by the machines in that house, you freaked because the leadership was using a lot more machines than before your squad was abducted. Or is that the future you remember? In the future I remember, I was not The Leader."
Derek: "In the future I come from, everyone, every place, and everything was dissolving. We came to the past because we had no choice."
Cameron: "The singularity bomb. Is that why the staff calls headquarters Ecalpon?"
in another place
The interesting terminator is killing another victim. As his victim struggles, he speaks both in exasperation and curiosity.
"Why do you resist? Your lives are meaningless. You humans are just statistics."
The human dies unable to perhaps reply: so are you.
He had time to get in one more target before heading home. Arterial spray and squirting of blood as CSI types so quaintly put it. The victim lost consciousness almost immediately. The victimizer was never really conscious in the human sense of the word. He knew the minutiae of the hit man's profession and the minutiae of the exterminator's profession but he knew nothing of life. He was more dead than his victims.
Worse, he knew it.
He called home to his human wife.
"I'll be home soon but I need to change first."
(blood was all over him)
She had no clue that her husband was a machine. She only knew that he was a 'good man' and that his job required him to be out of town a lot.
That's not fair she thought. He is also a good husband.
He used condoms because he frequently broke into sperm banks after hours to refill his reservoir. She would have noticed if he was shooting blanks. She also wanted two children so he obliged. Neither one looked like him.
When men go berserk and kill their families, perhaps they are terminators.
"Is that Daddy?" he heard in the background through his cell phone.
"Put Laurie on, honey."
"When are you coming home Daddy?"
"Oh. Late." She was disappointed. She would be in bed asleep when he came in late. He heard the disappointment.
"I'll be home to tuck you in."
On his way home he picked up an item he had ordered. It was a hard-to-find doll that his daughter wanted. He was a good father also.
Agent Greta Simpson no longer laughs at her partner's interest in those tabloid stories of "killer robots from the future!" The short-lived Skynet headlines have vindicated him. Then that arm and now a whole body of a killer robot courtesy of a woman in South Africa working for a company named Zeira. Unlike her counterpart in another universe, this Greta does her homework on this phenomenon.
However, she is being watched.
"The unstoppable project" is what the media is now calling the Skynet project. Every time someone connected with the project dies, there is retaliation. The Resistance kills a second person connected with the Skynet project. The death toll among the Resistance and Underground this month is now one hundred deaths.
Back in the old universe.
Research & Development Division
VP: "Other companies will dominate the field of military robotics unless we come up with the next generation machine. The Pentagon wants something innovative. If we want a big contract instead of the scraps of subcontractors, then we need to think advanced."
CEO: "What do you have in mind?"
VP: "The Pentagon likes our HK's. Little antipersonnel devices. But cute little things that look like toys and that kill children wandering into minefields are bad publicity. Even celebrities campaign against them. The video games have it right. Walkers."
CEO: "Imperial walkers like in Star Wars?"
VP: "No. Not tanks or mechanical elephants. But bipeds built tough as tanks. The first generation will look scary like shiny silver skeletons with red eyes and won't be too smart because that is what people expect of robots. The first generation is really to win over decision makers at the Pentagon. The second generation will have plastic skin, a hardened combat chassis, and be able to reroute their circuitry if damaged. The third generation will have synthetic skin for stealth missions and start including advanced artificial intelligence software. The fourth generation will have biotech skin and be autonomous. Of course they all are but we're talking extended duty and judgment. The fifth generation will be able to do military intelligence assignments --”
CEO: "You mean go undercover as spies? Not in military uniforms?"
CEO: "What about the sixth and seventh and eighth generations?"
VP: "Don't know. I was making it all up. Our roboticists have only prototypes of the first gen and the second gen is still on the drawing board."
CEO: "Too bad. I like this whole series of models you envision. Like GM's planned obsolescence."
VP: "Well the researchers talk about transjectors and mimetic polyalloys so I suppose that as long as there is research, there will be a ninth, tenth, eleventh and so forth generation."
CEO: "Generations." (musing to himself) "So this is a clean break from the HK's. What do you call them?"
CEO: "Just make them so relentless that other military contractors refuse to compete with us. Especially those S.O.B.'s over at Kaliba. I play golf with their CEO. They are going to dominate the aerial drone market."
There was a third person present at this conversation. A future president.
A movie actor becomes California governor and then president. He decides to start SDI to end the threat of nuclear holocaust but paradoxically brings it closer to actually happening.
Cyberdyne gets financing from new investors and wins a Pentagon prime contract.
A baby is born in a jungle. The mother fled here "to get away from the bright lights, big city and trouble with a major appliance." At least that's what she says when people ask why a gringo is here.
Central American jungle
John is a young boy growing up around guerrillas and mercenaries. Sarah runs with this crowd because she figures it is the kind of background a future resistance leader (her son) will need. But soon she will start to wonder if she imagined it all and get homesick for the USA.
Instead of chasing Sarah Connor at night, a terminator uses heavy equipment to chase her son John Connor in broad daylight with numerous witnesses. This terminator is beyond anything that the Cyberdyne vice president imagined -- exploding buildings, full out war battles and large vehicles being smashed up.
Competitors to Cyberdyne and Kaliba go bankrupt. The CEO's of both companies die mysteriously and are replaced by more ambitious CEO's who do not seem to have family lives in an era when a wife is no longer a prerequisite as it was in the Fifties when only married men and old white guys and tall men and fellow Harvard Business school graduates could expect promotions. They are both workaholics. Since other employees have to go home to sleep and see their children once in a while, they can't swear that the boss never goes home.
The executroids do go home -- but only to shower and change clothes.
Cameron arrives in the past, steals clothes, contacts The Engineer, and begins her search for John Connor. Seventy-three days later, she finds him in Albuquerque, New Mexico attending Crest View High School. She arranges a cover complete with a parent, enrolls at the school, and gets to know Past John. He is not much like Future John. But, on the other hand, Old John was an adult and Young John is a teen-ager like herself.
On the run from police and trying to protect her son from terminators, Sarah Connor is missing and the FBI assumes that she is dead of leukemia.
Sarah has seemed to drop off the face of the Earth. One of the people she has entrusted with her chronicles blows the dust off one journal and plays one audiocassette and then puts them back for safekeeping. Sarah was one tough woman. It was not smart to assume that she was crazy or dead. The record keeper had seen too much to dismiss Sarah that easily.
The FBI sends the Sarah Connor file to its cold case unit and instead of merely putting it at the bottom of the pile, the cold case unit puts it dead last on its list. Not a priority.
Even the terminators sent to the past have gotten lives (of a sort) after killing their secondary targets. Without a John Connor to kill, they are killing every potential Resistance member they can find. After exhausting these lists, the terminators are reduced to watching the news, reading newspapers, surfing the internet for news, and shaking their heads at the stupidity of humans. Being a news junkie tends to make one a cynic. There is never one single day that there is not a story out of the Middle East or Arabic-speaking world about a suicide bombing or people feeling an insult has been made to their religion or assassination or hijacking or missile strike into Israel or nuclear proliferation or war or women attacked or anti-Semitic remark or a crazy cleric or violent protests against someone pointing out this repetitious behavior.
Einstein said the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
While the FBI chased Sarah Connor as a terrorist, Skynet manipulated real terrorists into doing his dirty work. In South America, terrorists didn't bother to blather political diatribes. They showed their true colors by robbing banks and selling narcotics to bankroll still more terrorism. Skynet had deep pockets and hired a few of the professional terrorist organizations while simultaneously manipulating the crazy splinter groups.
Through agents of course.
Skynet did not go to meetings at corporations or at clandestine camps with either his executroids or his terrorists.
James Ellison comes across a photo of Sarah Connor. Even at the bottom of the list, a review was bound to happen.
James Ellison comes across a photo of a young teen-aged John Connor in the cold case files.
night, 18 January 2007
Three streakers disrupt traffic on a freeway under construction. Video of the incident is seen by Sarah's ex-fiancé and an FBI special agent fresh out of its cold case unit.
Gasoline prices are headed into the stratosphere. A few individuals (ignored of course) are warning about the volume of sub-prime mortgages. Hedge funds are playing dangerous games with derivatives.
Victoria had been an administrative assistant for several executives at several companies before landing a well-paid position at Zeira Corporation. Her new boss was a redheaded Scotswoman with a strong burr and a strong personality. Quote from diary: "The boss' daughter was often in the office playing with Lego blocks or Sudoku puzzles or doing homework when not in her rich kids’ school. It was fun working for Ms. Weaver. How many CEO's do fashion spreads for magazines?"
"Savannah was quiet as a mouse and seemed terrified of her mother. I suggested therapy and a nanny and a nurse. The boss seemed to appreciate the advice especially when Savannah started smiling at her and acting like a normal third grader. Except Savannah was smarter than most children her age."
Enjoying having a mother and a brother, Cameron stops giving direction (hunting Skynet to stop Judgment Day) and in this power vacuum, Sarah takes control. They're doomed. We're all doomed. Can't really blame Cameron for wanting a childhood. At no time in John's life (young, middle-aged or old; past, present or future) has he ever shown any interest in basic psychology. A person growing up without a childhood and without parents is sooner or later going to crave family and want the childhood they were deprived of having.
The jeep explodes, the house burns down, and Sarah and John are surprised that Cameron is not indestructible. Humans act strange when they have strokes and tumors. But this cannot happen to machines can it?
New school. Sarah pulls John out and home schools him. Cameron doesn't even get home schooling. She is made to work in a nuclear power plant so that she will get cancer like her mother. At least that is what Cameron suspects is the motive of Sarah. Take back the future? They don't even have a past or a present.
"I'm talking to you!"
Like a deaf zombie, Cameron finally rouses from her daydreaming while standing in a dark corner and mopping up some radioactive waste.
"Didn't you hear me?"
"I was thinking."
"Did I give you permission to think?"
"The Sarah Connor Chronicles" abruptly end again like the ten year gap when the family jumped forward in time. Terminated? No, terminators in hot pursuit again. No time to write. Much less record audiocassettes.
Left unanswered for future historians are many questions. Of course most or all of those historians may be machines.
Radio stations are automated. Movies are CGI. Television is soon to go digital and broadcasting will end and be replaced by video recording, Hulu, and torrents. Cell phones cause accidents and text messaging causes multiple vehicle pileups on highways.
Having crossed time, place, and face; Cromartie continues to look for John in vain. John's friends from school also cannot find him. Cameron has made friends also who cannot find her. The family is now living in the canyons in a house rented from Kacy Corbin.
Kacy Corbin was in some ways the opposite of Sarah. Though they both were commitment averse, Kacy didn't want to marry the father of her child while Sarah did want to marry Kyle. Kacy was an earth mother type who never thought that she would hook up with the fuzz, a cop. But when she met Trevor, he was wearing plainclothes like most detectives and she got to like him and fell in love with him before finding out that he was an L.A.P.D. detective.
John has seen his mother pack on muscles but Cameron thinks she is too skinny and possibly the cancer has come back.
Sarah leads an attempt to save Savannah Weaver from being assassinated by a terminator. Derek Reese, John's uncle from the future, dies pointlessly in this adventure. However, instead of immediately taking the child back to her mother, Sarah holds the child hostage until her mother, the CEO of Zeira, agrees to meet her. Ms. Weaver has another child (John-Henry) to protect and has no intentions of meeting a kidnapper in some dark alley. The police finally capture the fugitive who has been running for her life since age eighteen.
Los Angeles County Jail
FBI Agent Aldridge tells Sarah that friends, neighbors, and even relatives have come out of the woodwork concerned about her, John and Cameron. Some relatives thought she died of cancer or old age or shot by police. Sarah assumes that some inquirers are terminators. Even Trevor, Kacy's cop boyfriend cannot get in to see Sarah.
Supporters outside the jail hold placards and posters and signs.
"Sarah, John, and Cameron, Derek: You are part of our lives."
"We love you."
"We care about you."
"Never let go."
"We are not passive."
"We want them back."
"Where is Cameron?"
Cameron dies. John-Henry disappears into the future. John disappears into the future. Ms. Weaver disappears into the future. Sarah is alone. Savannah is orphaned again.
The media circus moves on to the Kaliba drone attack on the Zeira building and soon forgets about the family. The Weaver family. As well as the Connor family. Family supporters boycott the networks.
With neither Lachlan nor Catherine Weaver at the helm, Zeira Corporation has to declare bankruptcy because despite almost $400 million gross profits worldwide, its production and marketing costs are about $200 million. There is a long list of creditors. Zeira also is in litigation with one of its backers, a hedge fund.
Cameron is once again changing hands as ownership of her has gone from Skynet to John Connor to John-Henry. Her body, like that of the other terminator in the Zeira Lab (the Water boy T-888), goes up for auction. Kaliba Group, mired in litigation from federal and California state prosecutors for attacking the Zeira building, declines to bid. Cyberdyne Systems wins the auction and Cameron is now, once again, owned by Skynet. Coming full circle, she ends life as she began it -- as a corporal on Skynet's staff.
Photos of a shot-up Cameron in the Zeira Lab appear on the internet. These photos are real. Then it gets worse, posters of Cameron smiling as her most her body is chopped off appear on the internet. These posters are fake. Charles Fischer, future collaborator, is among those who get off on the fake.
Skynet continues to buy companies after Kaliba and Cyberdyne come into the media spotlight to lessen his dependence on just two companies.
After the publicity surrounding the arrest of Sarah Connor and the spectacular mass jail break, the networks decline any interest in the chronicles kept by one of her chroniclers (the record keeper). They are more interested in the "new 911" as they call the Kaliba drone attack on the Zeira building which happened the same day as the LA county jail break. The record keeper puts the chronicles back in storage, head shaking, and saying aloud:
"The fugitive runs for her life. Just when I thought it couldn't get stranger."
John considered only two places to be "home": the house burned down by Sarkissian's mob and the house in the canyon rented from Kacy Corbin. The house in the canyon no longer exists.
Sarah's fate was decided long before she faced a judge and jury. Judges appointed by a certain president and the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Roberts decided that corporations are persons and that corporations are more important than consumers. Between this and the Patriot Act, the Bill of Rights ceased to exist.
Matt Murch. Before being hired by Zeira, he was a topnotch computer engineer. He heard the gossip about his boss being hot-tempered and cold-blooded. He didn't know what the others were talking about. He found Ms. Weaver to be a great lady. After her disappearance, he found the death certificates made out in advance for living people. Although Ellison's death certificate was in the computer and many other employees likewise, there was no death certificate for him waiting for Ms. Weaver to fill in the date. The otherwise thorough Ms. Weaver had no plans to kill Murch. This is all the more remarkable when she considered Ellison to be father material for Savannah and John-Henry. And husband material for herself. She never for a second thought of Murch this way and yet she never for a second considered killing Murch. Ms. Weaver occasionally called Mr. Ellison "James" but she never addressed Murch as Matt. He was always "Mister Murch" to her. The one who saved John-Henry's life on more than one occasion. Now Zeira was bankrupt and Matt was looking for a new job. A boring job. He would look back on his time at Zeira Corporation with fondness. The best years of his life.
Victoria's diary continues: "And then the day came when Ms. Weaver's housekeeper and nanny were murdered and Savannah was kidnapped. Weeks later, a rival company rammed an aerial drone through Ms. Weaver's office window. I knew that some people hated her and that she had an odd taste in office pets (a snake and then a Moray eel) but this was an obvious assassination attempt on her. I never knew what secret project she had going on in the basement of the building and it is just as well or I might be a target too. As it was, I was luckily on another floor when the drone struck the building. Rumor had it that Ms. Weaver survived (they never found her body) but now that Zeira is in bankruptcy, I have been too busy trying to find a new position that I have not really had the chance to think about it all. I have bills to pay. I hope Savannah will be happy. My last official act at Zeira was to see Savannah off as she was turned over to her uncle, Ms. Weaver's brother who, it turns out, was also the NTSB official in charge of the crash scene back then in Barstow when Lachlan Weaver died and again when the Kaliba drone hit the Zeira building and presumably killed his sister."
"Mister Ellison, former head of Zeira security, left when he decided that he wanted no part of a cover up. He said that Ms. Weaver survived the crash but could not say what happened next because no one would believe him. It was only because of his old FBI connections that the crash investigators stopped hounding him."
"Curious. Though all her living relatives have Scottish accents, Savannah has picked up the American speech patterns of her classmates."
"I think the real reason that Ellison left Zeira and declined the board's offer to be its new CEO (probably he would have saved the company) is that he lost custody of Savannah to relatives with no possibility of visitation."
James Ellison moves on to other projects but still wonders if this war is really over. Ellison tries to keep the supporters together but he can't do it alone. However, some supporters create web sites.
Some of those supporter web sites close. But the supporters finally manage to hold a convention.
The VA hospitals and other doctors continue to turn amputees into cyborgs.
AI scientists talk of "singularity", blithely uncaring of the future. Meanwhile, Sarah Connor dreamed of gunning down atomic scientists who DO have a conscience and warn about nuclear proliferation.
from the Sarah Connor Chronicles:
"We program our machines to be smarter than us. Meanwhile, humans dumb themselves down. America in particular makes a cult of anti-intellectualism, worshipping stupidity, and idolizing mooks -- granted that America is not the whole world and that stupidity is found in other nations too."
Savannah Weaver grew into a teen-ager and then, despite being a cute kid, two bad things happened to her. She went back into her shell with the absence of Ms. Weaver and John-Henry and then she was burned alive when the thermonuclear missiles fell.
"Memory is all we really have. Take that away and you have the empty life of an amnesia victim. No history, no family, no purpose, and living on the kindness of strangers."