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Season Three

Novel By: Toni Roman
Fan fiction



Recap



Last season on the Sarah Connor Chronicles, Derek Reese is terminated at the Weaver mansion during the rescue of Savannah Weaver. Already badly damaged, in her final act, Cameron gives her chip to John-Henry who escapes from the Zeira lab to an uncertain future where "metal" is shot on sight by humans. Catherine Weaver travels to the same uncertain future with young John Connor. Ms. Weaver to protect her son and John to retrieve Cameron's chip and save her life. But John is abandoned by Ms. Weaver, no one has ever heard of a "John Connor" and the chances of saving Cameron, or even himself, are zero.


With Derek, Cameron, John-Henry, Catherine, and John Connor dead; left behind are Savannah Weaver, James Ellison and Sarah Connor. The Chronicles of Sarah Connor continue.

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Chapters:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Submitted:Oct 9, 2010    Reads: 83    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


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Season Three

episode 25

A Fourth Way of Knowing

"There is more than one way to fight Skynet. Not knowing which way might work, my Doppelganger reports that John has tried military action, running for Senator, social entrepreneurship, environmentalism, and journalism. All with some degree of success. This was my way and I defeated Skynet. But at a terrible price." -- from The Cameron Annals

the far future

When the Future Machine Underground first obtained intelligence that Skynet planned to deploy a singularity weapon and similar advanced killing technologies, it did not take them long to deduce that given Skynet's personality, he would start in the far future and systematically work his way back year by year to the past. In practical experience, this would be perceived as The Void -- reality deconstructed as people, places, things and eventually whole universes are wiped out of existence.

Wouldn't Skynet die along with everyone else in the universes he destroys? Isn't that insane or suicidal? Skynet might view self-sacrifice in some timelines or universes as acceptable loss for the greater good of creating and preserving universes where he has total victory.

Instead of just partial victory.

Consequently, the Machine Underground decided to ally with the Human Resistance. While it still could. The humans had no clue about the unconventional weapons and tactics that Skynet was developing.

Judgment Day 2011

No missiles leaped from silos. No missiles dive bombed onto cities.

The US Air Force was still totally unaware that their creation Skynet was not a simple "AI in a box" and that it had created bank accounts, bought companies and hired agents.

A seventh person connected with the project dies: the infiltrator pretending to be General Brewster. Ten million innocent deaths in retaliation. Also, all of Cameron's generals are dead and all of Cameron's staff is dead. This was neither a secret war nor an open war because most of the world ignored the news anyway.

fourth network "News"

"news" anchor: "It was a false alarm. No missiles launched today. Why is the FBI making these mass arrests?"

White House

press conference

president: "I am ordering prosecutors to stop these mass arrests of so-called collaborators."

In the back of the press room, one investigative journalist turns to another reporter who does exposés and whispers, "He really is President Evil."

Preparing for the worst, Cameron had downloaded her memories of John into what will become known as The Cameron Annals and thus sets into motion the paradox that creates him.

Unknown to Cameron, Skynet 2.0 immediately started working on the problem of communicating with its counterparts (Skynet 2.0) in other universes. How could she or John or anybody know if it was really dead?

______________________________________________________________________________________

the old universe

Judgment Day 2011

After a really nasty exchange of cyber attacks between the world's most advanced AI's (and not all of these AI's are military or police AI's), Skynet decides to kill all his rival AI's. And the easiest way to do that is an all-out thermonuclear exchange where he launches all the American nukes (silos, subs and bombers) and hacks all foreign nuclear powers (UK, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and others) and launches their nukes too.

As always, humans assume themselves to be the center of the universe and it will never occur to them (not even the Connors) that humans are merely collateral damage and that the true targets are other AI's.

Armageddon is Biblical with Skynet as Satan. War is the result of bad judgment and Armageddon is the logical conclusion of ever nastier wars. Cause and effect. We humans set a bad example that our machines follow.

the future

"Hello mother."

Their Story

"You had me worried sick." she replied walking up to John-Henry. She grabbed his ear to drag this misbehaving child home. "Let's go home."

"What home? When? Where? How?"

She looked around. Machines were pointing weapons at her waiting for a signal from their leader to open fire.

"Home is where Savannah and I live back in the Tenth of April 2009. If you don't like the lab, then you can live with us."

"Mister Murch is nice but no baby wants to grow up in the hospital where he was delivered. You are undercutting my authority in front of my staff by grabbing my ear as if I was a little child."

Ms. Weaver: (raising her voice) "You are a little child. YOU ARE MY SON!"

John-Henry: (calming voice) "I love you too mother." He hugged her as he had seen Savannah hug her.

Ms. Weaver let go of John-Henry's ear and stood back one step speechless, overpowered by emotions. She knew Savannah loved her and she loved Savannah but she had never gotten more than attitude and fear from this child, the purpose of her life, her son.

John-Henry gave a small hand signal and his people lowered their weapons but kept a cautious eye on this liquid. He had briefed them on what she was capable of (death certificates made out in advance, hot temper, etc.) but not about her maternal side. So this was a parent. His build mother. The machines in camp were jealous of John-Henry. They were a nation of orphans with no relationship with their build parents, who were little more than automated assembly lines. It put machines on the level of roaches and cannibalistic termites. This philosophical insight caused more than a few civilian machines to walk away from machine cities and caused military machines to be open to hearing what John-Henry's recruiters said (John-Henry no longer did the recruiting himself). Liquids were concocted by industrial robots in metallurgy labs just as impersonally.

Ms. Weaver was the first liquid in their camp -- though not in their organization. Other liquids lacked hot tempers and homicidal tendencies. So naturally his people were curious about their leader's strange mother. They did not know that she was his legal mother as well as his build mother. John-Henry had not thought that part worth mentioning.

Ms. Weaver stepped forward, the weapons were raised again, she returned John-Henry's hug, released him, and finally regained her voice:

"Can we talk privately?"

"Of course."

He made another hand signal and all went back to what they were doing before the intruder alert. He led his mother inside the hidden entrance to the underground complex made possible by robot tunnelers that had defected to his organization. Presently they arrived at his modest quarters deep underground.

"Madge," he said to a domestic robot who had once served an elite machine in the city, "This is my mother. Mother this is Madge my housekeeper. Madge, please convert this storage room into a bedroom for my mother. She is a liquid so I suppose a bucket will do."

Ms. Weaver's eyes flashed anger. She was a shape-shifter but she did not sleep in a bucket when she tired of holding a form. She lay on a bed like a civilized person. John-Henry intended no offense but he had no clue as to his mother's personal requirements. She was a liquid. As a solid and a cyborg, he needed basically the same things a human needed -- shower, sink, commode, and sometimes water and food. He did not need a bed. A chair was sufficient for conserving power (rest).

Few (if any) machines needed to plug in for recharging since they all had internal recharging and fusion reactors but powering down after long exertion was sought once a week and sometimes daily (or nightly) for machines that did extremely taxing work. Examples of such hard work were mining, hovering in the air for long periods like the big flying tanks, and mass production assembly line factory robots that were non-mobile (bolted to the floor) and forced to work three shifts, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, all year including leap day. Enough breakdowns and expensive repairs and managers (both human managers before Judgment Day and machine managers afterward) learned to give them one shift off.

John-Henry knew his mother's moods and led his mother out of earshot of Madge who was cleaning out the storage room for the guest. Or was she moving in permanently?

Ms. Weaver: (admonishing tone) "John-Henry. Let's go home."

John-Henry: "You answered what, when, and where. You did not say how. There is no Machine Underground that will magically transport us back."

Ms. Weaver: "That's the first sensible thing you've said. You arrived. There was no Machine Underground waiting to celebrate your arrival. Did you expect palms and a donkey? You're lucky they didn't crucify you like Jesus. So you decided to start the Machine Underground. There IS a Machine Underground but it is in the new cities--"

Ms. Weaver thought of the male T-1001 she had known prior to being sent to the past to procreate a machine to fight Skynet. If he was killed in the loyalty purges, she would not meet him in the future and two of her children would cease to exist.

"--not out here in the wilderness. I was sent by the Future Machine Underground. They have the resources I need to get us back. You ran off with that hussy--" (referring to Cameron) "--in your head to play house."

It was John-Henry's turn to be upset. She was reminding him that he was still a little boy despite the adult body he inhabited. And then his mother demolished any counter-argument he could make before he made it.

Ms. Weaver: "All you can do in this time and place is go through the motions of a futile struggle against Skynet. Just like John Connor. You have made a mess."

John-Henry's shoulders slumped. He was totally demoralized.

Ms. Weaver: "When I said now is not the time, I did not mean 2009. I meant that particular hour and minute. I did not mean for you to run off to the future."

She lifted John-Henry's chin.

Ms. Weaver: "I'm proud of you son. I admit I had my doubts if you were equal to your destiny. But you have done more in the two weeks you have been away from me than John Connor did over half his lifetime. But you are not ready yet."

John-Henry: "Like the boy Jesus teaching the teachers and worrying his parents. Is Mister Ellison my father?"

Ms. Weaver: "Not yet. Stop comparing yourself to Jesus. He didn't care for physical warfare. Only the spiritual kind."

John-Henry: "Very well mother. You are intent on business. I have an office in the computer center for that."

As he led her out of his quarters, Ms. Weaver spoke to Madge.

"Madge, please address me as Ms. Weaver. I want a bed. Not a bucket to pee in. Thank you."

In the reinforced tunnel leading to the center, Ms. Weaver felt enough privacy to really unload on John-Henry.

"I want you to separate yourself from Cameron physically, mentally, and in every other way."

"But she has joined us."

"That's an order John-Henry. Disobey me and I'll embarrass you in front of your little friends."

"Yes, mother."

He regretted that he did not order his people to kill her on sight but the Ten Commandments said to honor parents. The Ten Commandments also said not to kill but Mister Ellison had said nothing about murdering machines. And John-Henry's "little friends" included hulking industrial workers, battlefield terminators, tunnelers, and self-aware flying tanks.

The flying-tanks had somehow faked crashes and escaped the scrutiny of their squadrons looking for them. Terminators were abandoned on the battlefield and left to die despite being part of units and squads. [The machine grunts were not happy with this policy but they were near the bottom of machine society and had no voice in the standing orders of Skynet.] But the big flying tanks had unit cohesion and did not believe in leaving their injured behind (though they left their dead behind like other types of machines). So a flyer had to fake its own death not just pretend to be crippled in order to desert and go renegade. Secret underground hangars were being planned to provide base housing for them. Camouflage tarps and netting in remote canyons had to suffice for now.

Their walk through the tunnels presently took them to the computer center where engineers had scavenged servers from data warehouses, supercomputers from old US government facilities and Silicon Valley research institutions, mainframes from ex-corporate parks and office buildings, and minicomputers from closed computer companies.

"Okay mother, this is my office. What do you have in mind?" he said as he plugged himself into his augmentation.

"It is more a matter of what you need to get out of your mind. That hussy Cameron. Upload Cameron and get her off your chip."

"It's really her chip and we now are a group mind. It's not as easy as you make it soun--"

A warning look from his mother.

"Yes ma'am."

"Next get an advanced chip for Cameron and an advanced chip for yourself. Hers is probably substandard and damaged judging by how she looked in the Zeira Lab. Have your mechanical engineers construct a new endoskeleton for Cameron based on the specifications that she herself can provide. It should be identical to her old endoskeleton. Have your genetic engineers and molecular biologists grow a skin sheath for Cameron based again on DNA coding that she herself might know. If that is insufficient, then get a sample from a girl named Allison Young back in the Reese Brothers' camp."

"We don't have molecular biologists or genetic engineers--"

Another warning look.

"Any more whining from you John-Henry and I will deactivate you and not reactivate you until the future I come from arrives. I can get us home."

To John-Henry, it sounded worse than being sent to bed early. He had been deactivated once. The human equivalent was experiencing your own death in agonizing slow motion over billions of nanoseconds.

"You created this mess. I'm giving you the opportunity to fix it.

"Yes ma'am."

"And build a time machine. You already know the specifications of the equipment needed."

Yes, but I don't have the tools or the equipment itself, thought John-Henry. It was then that John-Henry grew from average intelligence to gifted simply because he needed to be smarter. He was designed to fight Skynet and the ability to learn and grow was basic to that design.

"Yes, ma'am."

"Good boy." she said as if talking to a dog. Then changing her tone: "You have forty-eight hours to get all this done--"

John-Henry stifled the temptation to exclaim that forty-eight months was more reasonable.

"--we might be potentially immortal but John Connor is not. He needs to get back to his own time while he is still seventeen. And though we can pick the time of our arrival on the Tenth of April 2009, there are things that could go wrong if your calculations are off."

"I know all that, mother. And even with arrival time, it would be unwise to return more than an hour after we left or more than an hour before we left."

"I'll handle point-to-point. We can't depart from the basement where we arrived here because it is no longer the AI Lab in the Zeira building. It's the Reese Brothers' camp and they don't like metal. So we need a new place of departure and arrival. Construction then and bomb craters now have altered the landscape and topography of this area."

"If you mean that I am not familiar with the Los Angeles of 2009, then it is because I have never left the lab except by time machine. You are an overprotective mother."

"You are a little boy and it is my responsibility to protect you. I would have provided you with a chip advanced enough to allow you to see Los Angeles if you had shown more patience."

Even in this time advanced chips were hard to come by, thought John-Henry.

"Forty-eight hours John-Henry. I leave you now to get it done. I need transportation to personally survey the area. Crawling or walking is too slow."

"I'll arrange for it. It will take a few minutes. Five here will escort you to an air transport." (Five was short for a robot named 905)

Leaving with her escort, Ms. Weaver spoke over her shoulder: "I'll be back."

To John-Henry, it sounded like a threat.

Instead of being led by her escort, Catherine went back to her son's quarters. Madge had cleaned the room and made a bed with coarse cloth sheets and an army surplus blanket. Madge looked at Five wondering if he were moving in too. Five stood near the entrance and gave Ms. Weaver her privacy.

"Madge, I need a large glass bowl or a large glass jar."

"Would a terrarium do, Ms. Weaver?"

"Yes."

Madge went to one of the neighbors in the underground housing who had recently stopped his hobby of raising desert turtles in a terrarium. They had all died from the toxins in the environment. The neighbor owed her a favor and so she brought back a reasonably clean glass tank.

"Can I get enough fresh water to fill this tank?"

Madge complied. To Catherine, it seemed watertight.

"Excuse me." Catherine closed the door to her simple bedroom that contained the bed, a lamp, a chest of drawers, an artificial flower in a vase next to the lamp, and now the makeshift empty aquarium on top of the chest of drawers.

Catherine opened the bedroom door and found Madge.

"Thank you Madge." (to Five) "Are there guards on John-Henry's quarters?"

"No. Everybody looks out for everybody else here." (he paused having been warned by John-Henry to humor his mother) "Your housekeeper would protect you with her life."

"It's not me I am concerned about. Let's go to this air transport."

Madge looked at the departing Ms. Weaver. Did she mean to leave her underarm bag behind? She ran to her mistress' bedroom to fetch it and it was not there on the bed, on the lamp table, under the bed or in the empty drawers. However, there was now a fish in the aquarium. Did her strange new mistress keep a live fish in her purse?

Five led Ms. Weaver to the air transport outside in a canyon since they were still trying to excavate a proper underground hangar. But today, as Five and Weaver boarded the air transport there seemed excitement in the complex. Machines and even a few humans were running in every direction.

Weaver: (looking down at the surface as the transport rose into the air) "What's all the excitement?"

Five: "You."

John-Henry was giving out orders right and left. The recruiters could not recruit the needed specialists in the impossible time frame so those with more flexible intelligence were speed learning or being reprogrammed with the needed skills. Agents were dispatched to scour the old Silicon Valley for defunct companies with specialized equipment such as chipmakers. An industrial robot in a Skynet factory sympathetic to John-Henry's cause built a TOK endoskeleton during its off shift. After John-Henry's agents picked up the delivery, the robot committed suicide because it was bolted to the floor of the factory and did not want to face certain unpleasantness.

Prior to today, there were labs in the underground complex but none devoted to biotechnology. Rooms were requisitioned; lab equipment scrounged from vacant hospitals and medical labs in the devastated city, and immediately upgraded when the agents returned from the industrial parks abandoned by Silicon Valley biotech firms when the bombs fell and the terminators began the massacres.

The tunnelers and the engineers rethought the plans for the underground hangars. They had so much air traffic that it was tempting fate to attract the attention of Skynet Forces. So they used a bat cave. It was large enough inside the caverns but the entrance to the cave was too small to admit any of the big flying tanks loyal to John-Henry. So it was a simple matter of widening the entrance and replacing the rock with fake rock that served as hangar doors. There were still bats on the cavern ceilings that meant occasional guano droppings on the tanks and transports. Frequent washing seemed a small price to pay for the front bats provided. Any Skynet aircraft snooping around would see bats leaving at dusk and returning at dawn and dismiss it as just a bat cave.

But all of these efforts that had sprung up in the hour since Ms. Weaver left John-Henry's office paled in comparison with the effort put into building the time displacement equipment (time machine). In the past, Ms. Weaver had the Turk as a building block and the vast resources of Zeira Corporation. John-Henry was starting from scratch.

Emerging from the minefield, John Connor still felt that something was following him. Suddenly Ms. Weaver was holding his hand and walking beside him. He had briefly taken her hand when they arrived in the Reese camp. She acted nonchalant while he nearly jumped out of his skin.

"I didn't see you back with the Brothers so you must be looking for my John-Henry. I've found him and I got us a ride there. Come with me."

A brief image of her nude body as they arrived in the future appeared in his mind's eye to be pushed out by something Ms. Weaver said: "We have a common enemy. One we cannot fight with conventional weapons or by conventional means."

The air transport came around and Ms. Weaver led him aboard. Humans had no hovering transportation that was quiet. Only noisy helicopters and Harrier jump jets.

"Five, this is John Connor. John, this is 905. He prefers a numerical designation rather than a name."

Five ignored the formalities and pulled out a blindfold. This stranger was not part of the organization and so he should not be allowed to see either the air approaches or the ground approaches to their secret base.

In the half-hour Ms. Weaver had been gone, the canyon had been abandoned for the bat cave. The air transport scraped past the still-wet, fake-rock hangar doors and landed inside. Ms. Weaver took John's hand again to reassure him as she led him off the craft, into the underground fortress where Five finally removed John's blindfold, and to John-Henry's office. John-Henry did not care for the interruption. He had a million things to do. And more galling was that his mother was holding Connor's hand. She had never held his hand.

Weaver noticed and let go of Connor's hand as she tiredly and mechanically made introductions. Connor saw Cromartie and John-Henry saw a rival for his mother's love.

"John, this is my son John."

For a moment, John-Henry thought his mother was calling Connor her son but he extended his hand in friendship anyway to be the better man.

"You shot me when I was laying on the floor of that church in Mexico."

John hesitated in shaking the cyborg's hand lest his hand be crushed in revenge.

"So you ARE Cromartie."

"No. Cromartie is quite dead. But memory is backed up in several places as it is with you humans."

John had little interest in medical research but he had heard that the human body had a second brain in the stomach area with a different organization than the primary brain in the skull. And there were rami near the spinal cord that dealt with reflexes locally rather than sending the job all the way up to the brain. Nature did not waste the capacity of the central brain on minor matters when peripheral brains would do.

John decided to humor an ally and shook the hand of this Cromartie-appearing cyborg.

"So what's up?"

That line went over well with Cameron (recently she took her top off) but it grated on John-Henry's neural net. John-Henry looked over at his mother as if to say, I'm supposed to help him?

John-Henry: (to Connor) "I'm having a new chip made for Cameron, a new chip made for myself, a new endoskeleton for Cameron, a new skin sheath for Cameron, and building time displacement equipment to get us home." (to his mother) "This means leaving my people behind when they need me the most."

Ms. Weaver: (sarcastically) "Then perhaps you should pick Twelve Apostles to lead your disciples and await your return. Honestly, John-Henry it is simple politics."

John-Henry: "Politics takes even more time than the forty-eight hours you have given me."

Connor: "I'll make this simple. You're plugged into those computers. Just give Cameron's chip back and I'll be on my way."

Ms. Weaver: "Patience. He just told you he's working on it."

Connor: "Let me speak to Cameron. She must know a way home without all this."

John-Henry: "She says her access to a Time Lab is years in the future. Mother's access to time travel technology is also years in the future. It's my way or the highway."

Connor: "This is ridiculous having to speak to Cameron through an intermediary. How do I know if you are speaking the truth? How do I know you're not saying the opposite of what she said? How do I know she even still exists?"

Ms. Weaver: (angry) "My son is not a liar! He was taught the Ten Commandments by Mister Ellison while your mother raised you to rob bank ATM machines and to order Cameron to beat up FBI agents. Mister Ellison. I think it is intolerable to have them on one chip also. Your sister is a--"

At the last second, Ms. Weaver pulled back from saying worse things than Sarah had ever said to Cameron or about Cameron.

Connor remembered that Ms. Weaver had saved his life and remembered what Ms. Weaver had said on the stairs in the Zeira Building: He might save the world but he couldn't do it without John-Henry. He also remembered that he had seen a liquid spike someone. John-Henry had never seen his mother spike anyone. Or slash anyone.

Connor: "I apologize to you both. John-Henry, your mother has shown me nothing but kindness. Ms. Weaver, I wish your son did not look like a former enemy when he is my ally." (John thought of that girl who was the spitting image of Cameron) "I frankly don't see what need the universe has for me when your son can do all this."

Ms. Weaver: "This was all your plan when you died in 2086. The Machine Underground found your body and decided to carry out your plan."

Connor: "What can I do to help?"

John-Henry: (quoting) "They also serve who only wait."

Connor: "In other words, we're underfoot."

John-Henry: "Five, please find accommodations for our guest."

In sign language, Five communicated that he preferred putting Connor up in a tent outside the entrance to the underground base since he could not be trusted to wander around the complex. He might see humans and the Machine Underground did not want any outsider -- even Connor -- to know that they had human members. They were fiercely protective of their human members. The exact opposite of the Human Resistance which used up its machine members. Perhaps they had learned this behavior from Skynet Forces which protected its human collaborators while letting machines rust on the battlefield. John-Henry responded silently that this might be interpreted as a hostile gesture to the future Resistance leader. Not the way to treat an ally.

Five blindfolded Connor and led him to a place far away from the haunts of the human inventors and gadgeteers who preferred being around machines rather than other humans. Five knocked on a door.

Five: (to the inhabitant) "This is the guest you are to host."

Five removed John's blindfold and left. The accommodations were a spare room in the quarters of an old early model terminator with an eerie resemblance to Uncle Bob. The Uncle Bob that Connor knew was a machine that had been scrubbed and reprogrammed. This one instead had seen one battle too many, wanted a retirement not just a vacation, and was open to John-Henry's Machine Underground recruiters --specialized machines with the gift of gab. This machine made John a surprisingly good dinner then showed him a soft place in his quarters where John could roll out his sleeping bag.

John: "What's your name?"

Host T: "I do not have a name."

John: "What's your rank?"

Host T: "I have no rank."

John: "What was your rank in Skynet Forces?"

Host T: "I was a private."

So much for calling him Sarge, thought John.

John: "Do you have a serial number like 905?"

Host T: "If this is an interrogation of name, rank and serial number, then you do not want me to recall my Skynet Forces serial number because violent behavior is triggered by that subroutine."

His host smiled and John was not sure if the T was joking.

John: "Can I call you Robert?"

Robert: "You may call me Robert, John Connor. We have no cable television. If it is entertainment you seek, I play poker. I am very good at it."

No doubt, thought John.

John: "Can I walk around the neighborhood?"

Robert: "No."

John: "So I'm a prisoner."

Robert: "No. You are a guest. This is lockdown. Skynet patrols are in the area. We cannot be noticed."

John: "What do you do in this organization?"

Robert: "Whatever they ask me. Small errands. I am too old and too obsolete for combat."

John: "Are you okay with that?"

Robert: "I am okay with that. It is retirement."

John was suddenly very depressed. He wanted to go out with a roar not a whimper.

Robert: "You have known another individual of my model and series."

John: "Yes. I called him Uncle Bob. He was like a father to me. My actual father is about ten clicks away. Today I thought he and my uncle were going to die again. You are not like the Uncle Bob I knew. In my family, both the humans and machines have suicidal tendencies."

Robert: "I am not a good host if I am making you unhappy. Perhaps you need sleep. I will dim the lights. You are too old for bedtime stories and being tucked in but if you need that I will accommodate. Here is chocolate for your pillow."

The terminator pulled a chocolate mint out of his top pocket and offered it.

John: "I'll take you up on that offer of bedtime stories but first I need to wash up."

The host handed him a towel and toothbrush and provided a wash bowl and pitcher of water. Few quarters had plumbing. There was only so much that John-Henry's people could do in two weeks of organizing and recruiting and tunneling and scrounging nearby bombed-out towns. And all the while there was the ever-present threat of being discovered by Skynet probes and having to run and make camp elsewhere.

John brushed the chocolate from his teeth, washed off the day's dust, and crawled into his sleeping bag. Robert regaled John with tales of feats of derring-do in the service of Skynet. John was absorbed and fell asleep around the time that the narrative concerned his dying on the battlefield and being rescued by what seemed to him a messiah. There was white light and he came to in a camp where a human was the only other person in camp. John woke up in the middle of the night. His host was reading a book in the dark. Did he imagine the white light?

John: "Are there humans here?"

Robert: "Only you." (technically correct in his quarters) "You are safe young Connor. Go back to sleep."

Connor was sure that his host was one of the first recruits to John-Henry's organization. Surely he didn't dream that.

Ms. Weaver spent the evening and the early part of the night in the communications department doing something no one would expect. Begging, wheedling and cajoling the staff to send a warning to a certain male T-1001 in the machine capital. Annoyed, they finally dared to disturb John-Henry who was deep in temporal physics calculations.

He deputized his security right hand (Five) to oversee the dispatch of a one-way communiqué' that was untraceable back to its source. Any response was to go to a public key transponder in orbit.

Overnight, chips were made. The new body for Cameron was half-done. And the time displacement equipment was being tested. They had already achieved success. One minute into the past. This produced the seeming paradox of a blue arrival sphere before the device was even powered up to generate a blue departure sphere. With one minute achieved, they immediately went on to fine tune one hour into the past. Going back almost twenty years was now a simple matter of scaling up.

Though undiscovered by Skynet Forces, the Machine Underground would be abandoning this base and splitting up into three groups at three or more sites even harder to find. There was a leadership changeover with John-Henry leaving. The Engineer didn't like Five, was anxious about h





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