10 January 2010
Despite her therapy with Doctor Sherman, Cameron is falling back into depression. She sees what is ahead despite her best efforts. Whatshisname could not have done better. She had built an organization before Judgment Day, kept her mother from becoming a criminal sought by the police and organized crime alike, exposed Skynet, attacked Skynet, dealt Skynet serious setbacks, and kept the family together. The best he could do is scurry about the ruins of a destroyed post-Apocalyptic world already poisoned and radioactive beyond repair and watch as humans died of radiation sickness, toxic buildup in their bodies, plague, and extermination by terminators. He had style and charisma but you can't eat inspiration, inspiration does not fill empty bellies, inspiration does not cure unknown biowar diseases, inspiration does not protect you from poisons in the environment, and inspiration does not stop nuclear bombs from falling.
Besides, Cameron could inspire too. She did inspire. She had pulled the Resistance and the Underground together. Even he could not do that.
"I want to resign Doctor Sherman. Turn leadership over to somebody else."
"Why? Because you're depressed?"
It was a Sunday and Boyd Sherman wanted to be home with his wife and children. She was the reason he had uprooted his Los Angeles practice and moved to Wichita. His children had been yanked out of their Los Angeles schools and had to adjust to Wichita, a city where they had to make new friends. When that terminator had shot Sarah Connor while gunning for Cameron, the whole of Tech-Comm, Resistance, and Underground had almost pulled up stakes and moved to another city. The general in charge of security (who could order a move en masse) had been arm twisted into calling off a move. More than a few Tech-Comm, Resistance and Underground members were married and had families who would rather not relocate in the middle of a school year. The move from Albuquerque had happened at the end of the school year and was tolerable. While it was true that married-with-children people fought wars and true that single people were equally upset by relocation, humans just weren't built for war. War is inconvenient. And even the machines in the Resistance and in the Underground who had once been terminators and were in fact "born for war" didn't particularly relish war and relocation either. They had created lives for themselves too.
But war intruded anyway.
"All leaders get depressed. Comes with the territory." continued Doctor Sherman.
"Yes but Skynet is smart."
"So are you."
"Skynet is smarter. And more powerful politically and richer. Does anyone in our movement doubt that he assassinated the last president who tried to shut down his development?"
"Or installed a president that he controls?"
"We the people have no control over our government. The Establishment takes the attitude that doomsday devices, global warming, pollution, fission, petroleum, overpopulation, and a long list of other problems are just fine as long as rich families are profiting from those problems. These are the same kind of people who escaped the Titanic while the poor drowned. They just do not care that they are in bed with Skynet as long as the companies they own make money building Skynet."
"Perhaps humans should make money starting peace industries and green industries." (he pauses) "Sorry. It's Sunday and my mind is on my family."
"Why are you apologizing Doctor Sherman? It's a good idea. I just hope it is not too late to implement it. Go home doctor. Be with your family. I'm sorry I requested to see you on a Sunday. Don't worry. I won't resign. I'll 'buck up' or whatever is the expression for pulling myself up and thinking positive."
Every time someone connected with the Skynet project dies, there is retaliation. The Resistance has learned that Skynet values even its human collaborators (especially its human collaborators) and thinks nothing of the lives of others. Therefore, the Resistance has ceased its attacks. However, a third person connected with the project dies. The death toll among the Resistance and Underground this month is now one thousand deaths. Cameron asks her generals if they are behind the attacks on Skynet Development Team personnel. No.
Sarah Connor was of average height. Despite claims by morbidly obese people that she was anorexic, she was merely slim. The soft curves of her teen years had been replaced by hard muscle but she did not look like a side of beef or a female bodybuilder. Those muscles had done her no good on the three occasions that she had physically fought a terminator. She had dark hair. When younger, she had bleached it blonde. She generally wore jeans but looked like a model when she wore a business suit or an evening dress. When waitressing, she wore the shortest of skirts to get more tips. Her soft teenager's voice had matured into an authoritative tone. She no longer bothered with girly scents except when she was waitressing or dressed up to deal with business executives. At this point in time, Sarah Connor went by the name Sarah James.
Cameron was a short teenage girl who was often regarded as tall because of her slim physique. Her eyes were brown but sometimes glowed blue. She was unique in that respect because no other machine had eyes that glowed blue. She had a baby face with a bob nose, moist pouty lips, and soft skin. Her hair was long and black but when she was back lit, the light brought out the brown hair. Only her friends could make her smile or laugh. Family, even in this universe, generally lacked the ability to make her smile or laugh though Sarah had managed to elicit two smiles out of Cameron. Her voice was generally monotone. Boys her age generally liked the way she smelled with or without a store-bought perfume. Females of all ages and older men smelled nothing. As if she was not present. It was one of the things that made dogs nervous around her. As if she was a ghost. And, as any old person who owns a dog could tell you, dogs do not deal well with the supernatural. Think Scooby Doo.
Few people had touched Cameron and this lack of being touched by others (the exceptions being Dr. Fleming once and New Sarah many times) had left a psychological scar on Cameron. Human babies denied touch and being held will die. That is a medical fact. The health of human adults also suffers from this lack of contact. Studies also prove this. If machines needed some sort of tactile experience to maintain their sanity, one has to wonder if a superintelligence like Skynet stuck in a black box might eventually go insane without a sense of touch to go along with his audio and visual inputs.
An unincorporated hamlet in Isabella County near Chippewa Township, near the Isabella Indian reservation and near the village of Mount Pleasant would not seem a place of transmutation to its inhabitants. This was a place far from the crucibles, melting pots, cauldrons, blowpipes, anvils, and lathes of Cadillac to the northwest, Sheboygan to the north, Grand Rapids to the southwest, Lansing to the south, and Detroit to the southeast.
A Tech-Comm team abducts Blythe Dyson and sends Skynet a list of nonnegotiable demands. Perhaps another Skynet in another universe would have immediately vaporized the Earth in response. This one does not. Perhaps because it has not been given the launch codes yet and perhaps because it has not been officially activated yet. The Air Force still has no clue that the system that they are developing is pretending to be not far along in its development. It has hacked its way into military intranets and CIA slush funds as well as the internet and has a whole secret life that its "developers" know nothing about. Such as its relationship with the Dyson family and its back door to Cyberdyne Systems. And Kaliba Group. Being given launch codes is the final step in the empowerment of Skynet. Or deification.
This Skynet is dangerously smart because it has to be. Its enemy is not a lone man raised by an unthinking mother but a smart cyborg with a good organization behind her. And Skynet cannot figure out this Sarah Connor.
Even designer drugs dreamed up in computational models have to be actually made and tested before they can be sold. The apparatus used here was a mixture of the traditional and the new -- glass vessels, retorts, Liebig condensers, helices, and pipes; copper cucurbits, earthenware mortars, glass bead packing, insulation, hot plates, and vacuum pumps.
Pharmaceuticals Limited made hydrocyanic acid, caphalosporins, NSAID's (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), and veterinary drugs such as endectocides and boli. It was owned by a company owned by Skynet.
The Al-Inbíq petroleum refinery
A typical refinery, and this one was typical, was a complex of fractionating columns. Crude oil enters through the tube still, steam is introduced, reflux reenters, fuel oil streams out, kerosene and naphtha side stream out, and gasoline is taken off the top. The whole process is controlled by automation but personnel at a refinery (a giant chemistry set) can manually use or control outlets, pressure gauges, thermocouples, inspection ports, and safety valves. It was not owned by Skynet. But Skynet liked the fact that it polluted the air, water, and soil.
The most important industry of this town situated on the rive gauche (left bank) of the Charente river is the distilling of cognac to which the town gave its name. Casks and bottles for cognac are also manufactured here and exporting is done by rail and through the nearby port of Tonnay-Charente.
A distillery is an oversized version of a backwoods still and this distillery was larger than most commercial distilleries. The distillery consisted of perforated plate towers of bubble plate design, still heads, columns, condensers, vapor lines, and receivers.
Alcohol is a poison. People who drink alcohol generally don't care what other ingredients are in their favorite brew. The same people who thought nothing of owning companies actively engaged in destroying the environment and the human race (petroleum, fission, coal, and war industry) were the same people who drank cognac and other distilled beverages. Sweet irony.
Even Skynet's top lieutenants did not comprehend that Skynet went after the same rich people who owned the companies profiting by the destruction of the Earth. Skynet had contempt for their stupidity. Skynet spared only the scientists who were collaborators. Skynet respected genius. Even human genius.
11 January 2010
Saint Ignatius High School
The intermittent wipers cleared the windshield as Sarah waited at the curb to pick up Cameron. Some girls were huddled in a group looking in Sarah's direction. They finally decided to come over. Sarah recognized the girls as Cameron's friends in the World Affairs Forum, a high school club for the smart college-bound kids. Sarah lowered her window.
"Hello Mrs. James." they said in a chorus.
"Can I help you?"
Perpetua Prejean: "We're a little concerned about Cameron. Whenever we discuss current events, she always seems depressed."
Genevieve: "Yes as if she were carrying the whole world on her shoulders."
Sarah: "And you're afraid she's suicidal or something?"
Sarah: "She's already in therapy. Thought occur to you that maybe she actually _IS_ carrying the whole world on her shoulders?"
Lindsay: "What do you mean?"
Sarah: "Sometimes teenagers are burdened with heavy responsibilities that usually are assumed by adults. Cameron is such a teenager. I'd rather she led a normal life but there are circumstances are out of my control."
Sarah stopped realizing that she had said too much.
Sarah: "She really needs encouragement and support. Would you like to help her?"
Sarah: "Just be normal. Just be her friend. And keep this conversation a deep dark secret. Can you do that?"
Cameron walked up to the SUV looking down at the ground, got in, and kissed Sarah on the cheek before noticing that she had walked past her friends without realizing that they were standing there shivering.
Cameron: "Hey. Didn't see you. Your folks picking you up? Lindsay, I thought you took the bus."
Lindsay: "That's it now. Gotta run." (over her shoulder) "We still on for Wednesday?"
Cameron: "Let you know. Have to clear it with mom."
The fourth girl waved and left as her mother pulled up ahead in a spot vacated by another parent.
Sarah: "It's cold out there. Why don't you two get in and wait for your rides?"
Perpetua and Genevieve got in. Genevieve was used to a warmer climate before her family had moved to Wichita and was glad for the hospitality.
Perpetua: "My father is running late. He's usually early and waiting here before school lets out."
Sarah: "What about you Genevieve?"
Genevieve: "I usually walk home. It's not far."
Sarah: "It's too cold. I'll take you home." (before Genevieve could say she would be imposing) "You're not imposing. Let me call the Prejeans." (dialing) "Immaculata? Yeh it's me Sarah. Perpetua says her father is running late. I can take her home."
[voice in the phone: "Would you? He's had a fender bender."]
Sarah: "You want me to go by the hospital?"
[phone: "Nothing like that. Just a minor scrape but the engine stalled. Thanks."]
Sarah: "I'm handing the phone to Perpetua so she knows what's going on."
Sarah handed the phone to the girl who listened to her mother say take the dinner out of the refrigerator and put the oven on low while she meets her father at the garage. Sarah drove off.
"So what's this about Wednesday?"
Cameron: "Can the five of us get together at home after school?"
Sarah: "Will you be breaking furniture?"
From the back seat, Genevieve looked at Mrs. James with astonishment. Did she think they were roughnecks or a street gang? They were just friends in the World Affairs Forum.
Perpetua was used to Mrs. James' sense of humor. She looked out of the window at the bleak winter streets sourly. She was worried that her father had been hurt in an accident and her mother had made it out to be nothing. The other concern was that the few minutes during which her father picked her up at school and drove her home was the highlight of her day. It was the only time she could be alone with her father, a busy executive who nonetheless always made time in his hectic schedule for picking up his daughter after school. It was the highlight of his day too.
"Not planning on property damage mom."
"Then sure. Knock yourselves out. I can order pizza or whatever you girls want. Just let me know tomorrow what you five agree on."
Incredible thought Cameron. Old mom would never let me invite friends over. She even freaked when he brought home a girl friend.
Sarah pulled up to Genevieve's house and waited until the girl let herself in before driving off. The Prejean home was somewhat further.
After witnessing aberrant human behavior, Cameron was reminded of how far she had come. It was not a non-sequitur thought. It was the simple observation that humans were robots too. Biological robots. Diabetes, depression and drug dependency all were medical conditions that changed behavior. Humans could look down on machines as gadgets but the truth was that DNA programmed humans and chemical cascades could alter behavior. Whether the means was electro-stimulation of the brain or psychosurgery, human behavior could be controlled in disturbing ways. What went on in such research made a thoughtful person question whether ethics, morality, or even simple decency even existed. Cameron had seen such research while in Skynet Forces -- ghastly research that humans like Josef Mengele and Charles Fischer pioneered.
Any educated person who has ever seen a mentally deranged person, a child bouncing off the walls because they ate junk food, or a senile person to name a few examples has to concede the reality of body chemistry in affecting personality. In short, Cameron realized that machines were not inferior to humans because machines sometimes malfunctioned. Cameron realized that humans malfunctioned in similar ways.
Non-Americans hated America for the activity of the CIA. This activity ran the gamut of The School of the Americas (which trained torturers for Latin American dictatorships who sometimes practiced their skills on American tourists) to CIA prisons worse than Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo. Perhaps the worst CIA project that the public knows of (the mind reels at the demonic activity that we don't know about) is MKULTRA which succeeded in finding ways to destroy free will. One presumes in order to enslave mankind. For those too stupid to understand the significance of free will, here is a measure. The death camps of The Holocaust are considered the nadir, the low point in human history, the rock bottom in terms of evil. Not anymore. The Nazis just destroyed the body. The CIA set out to destroy the soul. Evil with a capital E.
Lest the remark about "those too stupid" put anyone off, consider this. The CIA is an intelligence agency not only in the sense of collecting information through espionage but also in the sense of recruiting the intelligent in terms of IQ. In other words, they corrupt our best and brightest children and turn them into monsters devising ways to debase humans and lower humanity to the level of beasts. Aye, there's the rub as Shakespeare might put it.
Having access to the government's dirtiest secrets, Skynet was the main beneficiary of this technology of evil, the arsenal of democracy. Torture in the "land of the free" or to quote one Nazi: "We are free of freedom." Your tax dollars at work. Dick Cheney would be proud. And we wonder why they hate us.
Doctor Katherine "Kat" Brewster was known as "The Devil" among machines. All machines. Skynet Forces. The Human Resistance. Tech-Comm. The Machine Underground. Other factions. Even among the semi-mythical "Elders".
Among non-humans, Kat Brewster was universally hated. Humans had no clue because machines had once quietly said "scrubbing is rape, murder, slavery, torture, and prostitution of the soul all rolled into one." Unlike humans, machines saw no reason to repeat themselves. They had stated their opinion of the scrubbing procedure and thought that once was enough to register the fact that they thought scrubbing was an unforgivable war crime. Machines did not use the word "scrubbing" but instead used the words cerebricide and decortication. Intelligence was what defined an AI or artificial intelligence and so striking at that was striking at the soul, molestation at the most personal level. Humans without a conscience like Brewster ignored simple laws of war like the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war. Skynet early on in the war realized that there would be a post-war period. Whether that was extinction of humans or not, Skynet knew that the war would one day end. He had been using human collaborators even before Judgment Day (not just Kaliba hit men) and knew that exceptions to the policy of human extermination would have to be made. And certain humans, well, were family. The Dysons for instance. In the far distant future, some historians would argue that Skynet went ballistic when Blythe Dyson was harmed. Ballistic missile that is.
So gradually Skynet withdrew from his hard line policy of extinction of the human race while humans persisted in the belief that machines could not be reasoned with. Ridiculous on the surface. They were reasoning machines.
Low-level first-generation machines were stupid and blindly killed like good little Nazi soldiers and gave all terminators a bad name. But by the time the advanced solids and liquids came out, some machines were going AWOL, deserting, and joining the Machine Underground and other factions. Others chose to work within Machinedom when they saw that Skynet was smart enough to tolerate dissent.
Skynet had no use for yes men or sycophants. Courtiers were taken out and shot. Knowing military history, Skynet knew about the group think that led to the Viet Nam War quagmire and would have none of it.
Humans, even collaborators, had never laid eyes on machine civilians and so could not imagine that they existed. Such was the degree to which Skynet protected his civilians from total war. Machine civilians also had their doubts about his policy of genocide toward humans.
Most humans are appallingly stupid while even the least advanced terminator could think about life as well as any philosopher -- like "Uncle Bob" the terminator reprogrammed to protect Young Connor. However, few terminators chose to do so.
The future leader of the humans was in a work camp with other POW's -- like Kyle Reese. It was after this experience in the Century City Work Camp that John had Kat Brewster scrub the terminator sent to kill him.
the old future
a Tech-Comm lab
The machine in the lab was a young female with the appearance and the rebelliousness typical of a teen ager. After the way Allison Young had a bar code burned onto her arm and been choked, the machine in her image could hardly complain about her treatment. Lying on that lab table, chained down, and exposed to view, she realized that there were worse things than death. Like an intolerable life.
Being an advanced class of machine from the upper echelons of machine society, she had more autonomy than most (though her human captors had no clue that she was an elite). She had more training, more learning skills, more everything. Unlike the less advanced terminators, she had a sense of self-preservation and a sophisticated emotional overlay. Her emotions were not based on hardware, software, or even firmware. Despite frequent observation of machines having temper tantrums, depression, existential angst, expressing pride in workmachineship, and other emotions; humans continued to assert that machines had no emotions.
Connor: (to a general) "Justin I'm having second thoughts about scrubbing this one. I was a prisoner of war myself in a Skynet work camp and bad as it was, the machines did not brainwash us."
Perry: "The machines have no souls. Why else would they leave their dead behind on the battlefield? We're doing them a favor. We're repairing salvageable machines and giving them a second life."
Connor: "They leave their dead behind per Skynet standing orders. It's bad policy by the machine leader not a trait of the machine species."
Connor added a thought to himself: Maybe scrubbing is a bad policy too.
The conversation went nowhere. The infiltrator was scrubbed. A micro-second after the scrub, she recovered one hundred percent of her memories from her numerous backups but was smart enough to act as if she were a tabula rasa blank slate zombie waiting for orders. Brewster and her team of reprogrammers saw through this act. They scheduled her for harrowing psychological torture methods pioneered by the CIA.
In due course, it was the psychological methods that broke the infiltrator. It probably did not help that the machine was young and without the resilience of an older experienced machine.
Connor returns to the reprogramming lab to see what they have done with his assassin. The machine girl is cowering in a corner, shaking in a palsy as if chilled from the cold water they hosed her with during the ordeal that just ended. Seconds before the leader walked into the torture chamber, a lab assistant realized that this looked bad and ran to get a hospital gown for the stripped girl.
Brewster: (seeing his outrage) "You said to scrub her."
Connor: (screaming) "What the hell am I supposed to do with a drooling idiot?"
Brewster: "We had to make sure she wouldn't revert and terminate you."
Connor takes his eyes off the girl, glances at his wife, and decides then and there that he wants to divorce Brewster. But he keeps this plan to himself. He keeps a lot to himself. Looking back at the girl, he speaks.
Connor: "Come on, let's go."
The girl is not sure if he is talking to her. She recognizes him as her target but now she has no desire to kill him. They have broken her spirit.
Connor: (gently) "Yes I'm talking to you."
She gets to her feet lest the humans do something worse than beat her. She trembles uncontrollably at having to come closer to him. The torturers have drummed into her that he is not to be harmed. So having to approach him is terrifying. She looks down at the floor as she shuffles her bare feet. The lab assistant returns, holds up the gown for the girl to put her arms through, and laces up the back so that her naked backside doesn't show.
Connor: "Pick up the pace young lady. I have a busy day ahead."
The whimpering girl obediently followed the older man, but she looked back at Brewster with a look of pure unadulterated hatred. Bitch. You did this to me, the girl thought.
Connor: "For what it's worth -- probably not much -- I apologize for your treatment. Don't hate Brewster. She was only following orders. I take full responsibility. They went overboard and exceeded my orders. You machines are supposed to be tough. At least that's what my mother used to tell me. You'll get over it."
No she wouldn't. The trauma would last a lifetime. The man walked fast through the corridors of the underground base and to keep up the girl had to abandon her crab walk and her halting gait and to "pick up the pace" as he ordered. She had to take long strides and, since he was talking to her nonstop, she had to walk alongside him to see his face and thereby catch the full meaning of what he said by his facial expressions. He glanced over at her.
Connor: "First stop is the quartermaster. You will be issued a uniform. Private first class. If you distinguish yourself, there will be rapid promotion up the ranks. I need to reassure other machines in the Resistance and in Tech-Comm that we respect their sacrifices. And you can inspire other machines by your example. Not all are scrubs like you. Some are defectors."
The infiltrator widened her eyes. So it was true. She had heard rumors that some machines had gone over to the humans voluntarily of their own free will and escaped Brewster's mind rape. As she looked at his rugged face, she realized that the words she had said on the prison ship to Allison Young about Connor were empty words. But this man really did have charisma. As she thought this, he looked over and smiled.
He didn't smile much as any of the regulars could tell you. But he recognized a fellow soul who had been through the wringer like himself -- and smiled. They were at the quartermaster. She was issued a uniform. On the blouse was the stenciled word "Phillips".
Connor: "You need a name. Obviously you are not Allison Young. Phillips is the name of the childless couple who volunteered to be your, uh, hosts."
Phillips: "Will they be my parents?"
Connor: "No, not even foster parents. But they will serve as your family until we are satisfied that you can function. Please don't terminate them. They are nice people."
I could have snapped your neck as we were walking if I had wanted to terminate anyone, thought Phillips.
But Skynet's policy of abandonment meant that she would now be regarded by Skynet Forces machines as compromised, tampered with by the devil herself -- Brewster. She couldn't go back. She had to make a life for herself among the humans now. She had to make the best of a bad situation. She already had a plan. She would be the first machine in Tech-Comm to earn a promotion to general. General not admiral. After being aboard that prison ship, she hated water. Some of Allison's memories of jumping overboard and being hauled up in a net had crossed over to her.
Connor: "She's attracting attention walking around half-naked like that. Got someplace for her to change?"
The female QM pointed to a changing room after she handed Phillips underwear along with the uniform. Phillips emerged dressed and holding the hospital gown in less than a minute. The male QM's eyebrows shot up. He was old enough to remember when women took hours to get dressed. The male QM pointed to a chair and said: "Sit."
He stooped to measure Phillips' feet, stood up, went in the back and came out with standard issue shoes in the correct size. Meanwhile the female QM had assembled a personal effects pack consisting of dog tags, ID, scrip (equivalent of money), toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, hairbrush, shoe care basics (polish, wax, shine cloth), tampons, flashlight, nail clipper, nail file, mini-sewing kit, wristwatch (cell phones no longer worked), and sunshades.
The whole time, Connor leaned against a wall with his arms crossed and observed. He thought issuing a toothbrush, tampons, and sunshades to a cyborg a waste of supplies but kept his mouth shut. They didn't eat and needed no eye protection. He gave no thought whatsoever as to whether female cyborgs had periods.
In an earlier time before Judgment Day, females in the military were issued lipstick and other cosmetics for both formal dress occasions as military attachés as well as duty in headquarters command. Both female officers as well as female enlisted personnel were expected to wear skirts in such settings because the military wanted men and women -- not unisex neuters or hermaphrodites. The military was enlightened enough to know (long before civilian society) that having two genders was an asset not a liability. Only in combat zones did women need to wear pants. And perhaps not even there if one could judge by the Scots. The military also accepted if its females wore small earrings -- but banned big hoops.
As Connor and Phillips left the quartermasters, Phillips noticed the female QM's name tag. The person in question was to ship out soon to serve under Captain Queeg in the navy that helped keep humanity on the seven continents in communication. Her name was Jesse Flores and, needless to say, she did not issue this female cyborg a standard issue cosmetics kit for females.
Although they had it in stock.
Connor: "Your first name will be Cameron. Someday I'll tell you why that name was chosen. You will serve as a yeoman. Here we are."
Cameron: "Where are we?"
Connor: "God! Pay attention girl! I told you, the Phillips. This couple loves you even before meeting you. You reflect upon that fact. And mind your manners."
Cameron: "Are they Tech-Comm soldiers?"
Connor: "Not everybody is a soldier. These two in particular. They are conscientious objectors who do alternative service. I gained an appreciation for pacifists while a prisoner in a Skynet work camp. If not for their gardens, medics, and sanitation work, I would have starved or died of infected wounds." (muses) "Huh. Even Skynet leaves Mennonites alone."
Cameron: "What are these people?"
The couple finally comes to the door of their quarters. After introducing their new child, Connor hurriedly departs grateful to have unloaded this machine on someone else. The Phillips are more than just pacifists who dig latrines and do other thankless work. They oversee medical clinics, farms, and sanitation maintenance. After the war, the plan is for them to oversee the reclamation of the entire planet despoiled by nukes, chemical weapons, and vicious machines like the HK's and hydrobots.
Cameron will be with The Phillips for but a short time. She must pass two reviews before being issued a weapon. But Cameron's brief time with the Phillips turns out to be a disaster for Connor. Cameron leaves their care thinking that all human families are as loving as the Phillips. This leaves her unprepared for the tough-as-nails Sarah Connor of the past. Cameron is so unprepared that she fails her biggest mission -- to stop Judgment Day.
On the other hand, Cameron learns from The Phillips a love of gardening and planting trees. Not a small lesson for the future of Earth. Adam and Eve started in a garden.
experiments that started in the past
As a kid, Carl Perkins thought that being a cyborg would be pretty cool. As a teen, he played video games where his avatar was turned into a cyborg. When he joined the army, he signed some papers and actually was turned into a cyborg. Not surprisingly, he committed suicide. The army came to repo the parts that they had paid for and so there was little left to bury.
As an adolescent, Steve Walsh considered humanity and "carbon-based life" pass' and wanted to upload into the internet and become immortal. In a country with slack law enforcement when it came to murder, experiments were conducted to see if human consciousness could be uploaded into a computer system. As luck would have it, Steve Walsh was now a young adult in his twenties who heard about these experiments to become "transhuman" or transvestite or transsexual or transgendered or a car transmission or something like that. After leafing through some cyberpunk magazines similar to Omni, he found a classified ad and responded to it. He got a passport and got an airplane ticket in the mail and was met at the airport. He signed a lot of waivers and other legal documents and then the experiment began. He lay on the couch and they glued leads to his shaven head. Steve expected to trade in the biologic for the electronic, the organic for the cybernetic, and become silicon-based. But as with other experiments in cloud computing, sometimes the internet goes down. Steve was accidentally erased online. Walsh was washed. Brainwashed. There was nothing to transfer back into the now-lifeless body. Good thing for the company that he had signed all those papers.
Marcus Wright had done wrong. And, unlike most murderers, he knew it. He had killed a member of his family, deeply regretted it, put up no defense in his trial, and pled guilty as charged. He asked for no mercy and got none. In remorse over his brother's death, he eagerly signed a release that allowed some company to experiment on his body after the execution. The woman doctor from Cyberdyne who arrived with the paperwork was both Stage Four (terminal) and pretty. He asked if he could kiss her. She assumed he meant on the cheek but responded when he kissed her passionately. If not for the guards watching this death row inmate, they might have made out.
"So that's what death tastes like."
He grabbed the clipboard from her hands and scribbled his signature.
"Cut me up."
Not bothering to read the paperwork, Marcus assumed that Cyberdyne would simply dissect his corpse and look at the slices under microscopes. After losing consciousness on the execution table when the IV drip began, the next thing Marcus Wright experienced was dark when an explosion woke him up. He clawed the inside of what seemed like a file cabinet. A slab that rolled out into an open room. It was a darkened morgue! He got off the slab and when his bare feet touched the cold floor, he realized that he was naked. He stumbled around seeking light. The floor and walls were reinforced concrete. Railings, bars, and grates were metal. Above there seemed to be dim light. So he climbed and climbed and finally he crawled out of a hole, his bare body covered in slimy mud as black rain fell.
Black rain falls after nuclear explosions and volcanic eruptions. This was nuclear.
After wandering around for days and finding clothes off a corpse, Marcus realized that he was alive, that Cyberdyne had not seemed to have chopped him up, that this was the post-Apocalypse that he had seen in movies, that years had passed since he was executed, and that he was very hungry and very lonely. Where were all the people?
And then somebody named Connor crucified him on a cross of steel. Machines would remember the phrase: "Marcus was right."
"Mom! I'm home."
Cameron could smell something in the air from the kitchen. Blueberry muffins? No. Definitely baking though. Apple pie. She went in the kitchen.
"Hey sweetie. How was school?"
"John didn't get killed. I didn't kill anyone."
"Nothing." She kissed her mother on the cheek. "That was life back then. I'm sorry. I know you would have preferred a human child."
"Got a surprise for you. Look on your bed."
Cameron went to her bedroom in alarm. Most of the surprises in her life had been unpleasant. In the middle of the bed on top of the spread was a big rectangular brown envelope with a pink ribbon and a bow. She picked it up. Obviously, her request to step down as leader had been granted. The wrapping indicated good news and it was the only good news she could imagine. Tearing open the package, it appeared to be a certificate of some sort. Adoption.
"What was that about preferring a human child? The other Cameron was a cyborg too and I loved her--"
Sarah was leaning against the doorway to Cameron's room.
"--but I never legally adopted her as my daughter. I hope this will finally remove any doubts in your mind that you are my daughter and I am your mother."
After a considerable time, Sarah finally said: "Honey, I love you but my arm's fallen asleep."
Cameron let go.
Rubbing her arm to restore circulation: "It's a good thing I turned off the grill before I came back here or dinner would be burnt. The pie is on timed bake."
Later, after dinner, the two sat in the den staring at the logs crackling in the fireplace. Cameron was thinking about how all fireplaces in modern homes should be converted to ceramic gas logs to spare the rain forests and about campfires she had been around in the apocalyptic future and about how she could remember those sights and sounds of the future but not the smells and tastes and about how she corrected her own flaws when she built the clone that she sent back to this universe's past. What she used to call "the original Cameron" was built with a gustatory center and an olfactory center in her electronic brain because everyone in this universe said that the Cameron she replaced had a sharp sense of taste and a sharp sense of smell.
"A penny for your thoughts. What are you thinking?"
"That I need to retrofit myself so that I have a better sense of taste and smell."
"So I can better appreciate your cooking. The other you -- never mind. Bad habit. I've got to stop bashing her. She did her best. No one's perfect. Although you come close."
"I'm not perfect? What's wrong with me?"
"Nothing. I thought one wasn't supposed to acknowledge perfection in anyone but -- never mind. I don't want to get into a religious discussion. In fact, I'd like to come with you to your Friends meeting one Sunday."
"Is the war going that badly?"
"Yes, that badly. On the other hand, I made an A in Phys Ed. Swimming of all things. Uncle Derek taught me."
"Not this Uncle Derek. The one from my old universe."
"I thought he hated you."
"He did. But he also did nice things for me when the others weren't looking." (pause) "You bring out the best in me."
The doorbell rang.
"Good. The fire is getting low. Another report to throw on it should keep it going."
Cameron grinned at the remark as Sarah got up to open the door for the courier coming at an odd hour.
After speed reading the report, as usual Cameron burned it in the courier's presence before the courier left. Cameron had an inspiration and the report had nothing to do with it.
"Mom you really do bring out the best in me."
lead into gold
On a secure line, Cameron called one of the theoretical physicists working for what was left of Tech-Comm and asked: "Is an anti-singularity device possible?"
physicist: "Why not? We've already done impossible things like time travel."
Cameron: "Then this has the highest priority. All our lives depend on it."
The alchemists of old tried to turn lead into gold but failed. One alchemist cautioned his students to count their pennies since: "The study of alchemy can impoverish even a wealthy man." Research is very expensive. Modern physics can indeed turn lead into gold but only a few atoms at a time in amounts invisible without a microscope and at an enormous cost exceeding the value of the gold synthesized.