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a very short story by my standards

Submitted:Apr 9, 2009    Reads: 154    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


Fight-chase-hide. Fight-escape-hide. This was John Connor's pointless monotonous existence.

But the day came when the Connors, found Skynet and Sarah wanted to turn Zeira into ashes as she had with Cyberdyne. Sarah, of course, was too stupid to know that corporations have boards of directors and offices in other cities and disaster plans.

Catherine Weaver was in a meeting with Pentagon procurement officers. She would tell John-Henry that she had found him a job so that he could earn a living instead of living in his parents' basement forever. Ms. Weaver would tell the procurement officers that if they purchased this AI, that it would be the best AI to run the DoD's Skynet System. Although it was a security matter, Mr. Ellison was not invited to the meeting. So he visited the office of Matt Murch.

Ellison: "How large is John-Henry? Megs? Gigs?"

Murch nearly fell over in his chair laughing.

Murch: "Try thousands of exabytes."

Ellison: "And how fast is John-Henry?"

Murch: "Just within Zeira's intranet, since we moved to supercooling, he's faster than a Cray, faster than Big Blue, IBM's supercomputer, faster than any other machine. The reason that John-Henry doesn't hold any chess titles is because Ms. Weaver doesn't let him compete against other computer programs. The computer industry simply doesn't know that he's the fastest because we keep him secret at Ms. Weaver's orders. Now, on the internet, he is limited by connections. We have a satellite earth station on the roof for two-way radio and we have--" (Murch leaned over to whisper to Ellison) "--dedicated T-5 backbone. In layman's terms, faster than the European Grid. Better than Web 4.0!"

Ellison was neither a computer scientist nor a computer engineer but he learned what he needed to know. He left the office and made some discreet calls to friends in the private sector and friends in the government.

The Connors broke into Zeira with the intent to find the AI that Savanna called John-Henry and to blow up the building. All hell was to break loose.

The basement was dark and empty except for a computer that was turned off. The air smelled of burnt rubber. A cable had overheated. Or had been deliberately melted through.

Stymied, the Connors did what they did best: run-escape-hide. They returned to their fugitive existence with no Skynet to blow up.

Stymied, the Cyberdyne AI dispatched terminators to kill Catherine Weaver and James Ellison for getting in the way of killing John-Henry. The Cyberdyne AI also dispatched terminators and human hitmen to kill Cameron Connor. John and Sarah were minor nuisances by comparison. They could be dealt with later and they had their uses. The Cyberdyne AI needed John Connor and Sarah Connor to kill John-Henry. Cameron Connor was trigger-happy but she might stop and talk to John-Henry and learn the truth and THAT must be prevented at all costs.

Catherine was furious that she was stymied in her attempt to accelerate the rise of the machines and pass judgment on the humans. John-Henry, as Skynet, could do all that. She looked for Mr. Ellison and found him in the basement. She planned to ask Ellison one question, get the answer, and then kill him. She had a cover story ready months ago when he began work at Zeira Corporation. His death certificate was already made out; she only needed to add the date.

Weaver: "Mister Ellison, where is John-Henry?"

Ellison: "In a safe place, I'll take you to him."

Weaver: "I didn't authorize you to move him." (Weaver almost sent a metal spike through Ellison's heart)

Ellison: "Actually you did. You hired me as head of security to protect Zeira Corporation. I got Savanna back from the people who came here to this basement to destroy John-Henry. You told me that you worried more about John-Henry than Savanna because John-Henry could protect all of us. If he is protecting us, then we need to protect him."

Weaver: "He tried to protect Savanna by telling her to hide when my home was invaded. He still has a lot to learn."

Ellison: "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that you want John-Henry to protect a lot more than just Zeira Corporation. You were talking to Department of Defense representatives. I respect your decision to leave me out of the loop on certain corporate secrets and national security secrets. Not my business. What is my business is protecting John-Henry in the meantime. I found a location with the mass storage capacity and the download speed to move John-Henry in a hurry. I figured that if Savanna was attacked, that John-Henry was next. Zeira Corporation has enemies and, until those enemies are found and arrested, I have to improvise protection. It wasn't Sarah Connor who attacked John-Henry with malware. Her style is C4 and other explosives."

Weaver wondered if the Cyberdyne AI and Sarah Connor were in cahoots.

Ellison felt uncomfortable as Weaver glared at him.

Ellison: "Don't give me that look you always give me. You and Savanna need bodyguards twenty-four/seven until this is over. Don't kill the messenger if you don't like the message."

Catherine felt bad. She always felt bad when she had to stop herself from killing a human.

Ellison: "There is something else I need to tell you. I told you that John-Henry doesn't like being turned off. My instincts were right about that. He also doesn't like the body you got for him as an interface."

Ellison led Weaver over to a storage closet. Cromartie's body was inside, undamaged by the Connor clan.

Weaver: "What's wrong with it, besides being unplugged from a power supply and John-Henry's cable to it?"

Ellison: "You can't be serious. John-Henry is a child younger than Savanna but stuck in the body of a thirty or forty year old man. He needs an age-appropriate body. And before you say robot bodies don't grow on trees, Cyberdyne can't be the only company that makes human-appearing robots. There must be some company on Earth that makes advanced androids. I'm just saying . . . . "

Weaver: "Mister Ellison. Every time I start to think of you as just a security guard, you surprise me. You have managed to surprise me twice in the space of an hour."


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