John Connor controlled the worldwide Resistance. Except for sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, he took on Skynet in North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Oceania in almost omnipotent fashion. He was in command of Tech-Comm. He surrounded himself with strong men to prevent terminators from getting to him.
However, the gripe behind his back was that he was possessed, a cruel rapacious hawk who closed himself off from humanity with a wall of metal, reprogrammed the very terminators who came to kill him into bodyguards. Except for that leather-clad dominatrix Phillips, Tech-Comm was a dry and almost womanless army and Connor had a grasp and a grip on the civilian Resistance without the checks or balances of a news media, a legislative branch, or a judiciary. John slept with half the women -- he woke up.
John's last night in the past
John Connor dreamed that he ordered Cameron to be a robot serial killer. But was it Young John or Old John giving the order? Past or future?
In fairness to Cameron, she never was into vinyl and latex in real life. Only in John's wet dream did she wear all that dominatrix gear. No wonder she was so hot! And had to take off her purple leather jacket before she stepped into his bedroom. To talk. Only to talk. Not to sweat.
Other guys told him that his mother was a knockout. He would grin because they had no idea that that was true in more than one sense. John thought he was used to being around a beautiful woman. He grew up with mom, so awareness of her beauty was intellectual only. But his adopted sister was apparently his age and resembled descriptions of Kyle Reese. What went on in the future?
He also heard about the day that his mother had seen Cameron in the dining room as the sunlight streamed through the window and lit her from a certain angle. His mother had dropped the glass she was holding and thereafter avoided mirrors. Was Cameron like looking in a mirror and seeing her sixteen-year-old self? Was she actually his biological sister? Not just adopted?
He knew that his mother had checked Cameron's synthetic DNA but she had never told him the results of the test that came back. From that point in time she seemed to get angrier at Cameron. A child can't help the circumstances of its birth any more than the spawn of a rapist can. All babies are born in innocence. But John guessed that Cameron had killed her template. As the terminatrix who was reprogrammed into Cameron Phillips experienced life among humans, did it finally occur to her that she had killed her own mother? Did the realization that she had committed matricide traumatize her? Did having Sarah as a surrogate or adoptive mother force Cameron to think about who was really her mother? Did that finally send Cameron over the edge and cause her to have amnesia that day? Was Allison Young really Cameron's mother? How could she not be?
Cameron was a dead ringer for Allison Young. Was Cameron a clone of her grown around a metal endoskeleton? If Cameron was related to the Youngs and not the Connors, then why did his mother act so weird around Cameron?
Unfortunately, John would think, those were the tamer speculations about Cameron. He had a persistent feeling, with nothing to back it up, that Cameron was a causality violation or a construct like himself.
John had no way of knowing that the wilder speculations were closer to the truth. That Cameron played a large role in creating herself.
The name was the least of it.
Why did everybody keep secrets from him? How was he supposed to lead knowing less than everyone else about everything?
My God, why did his sister have to look so beautiful? Maybe his mother was right. Cameron wasn't her daughter. That meant . . .
Cameron spent the night staring at the sleeper who would never really awaken. He had accused her of leaking radiation and thereby causing his mother to develop cancer. Cameron had used her one chance to return to the future and to Future John to instead save the life of someone with a death wish. Sarah's first significant act after the time travel was to get a job in a nuclear power plant where she got a lethal dose of radiation around fissionable waste material. Her next apparent attempt to contract cancer again was to go to the Desert Heat and Air factory and the nearby town which was surrounded by dark pools of toxic waste which poisoned cattle and, no doubt, caused the townspeople cancer. Sarah went there twice.
As Cameron watched John sleep, she thought about Sarah's order to take the passports and emergency money, leave the country, take John away and forget about her. John and Cameron. Jameron. A new life together. Finally, the possibility of happiness.
Cutting the apron strings from a mother who abused her and condemned John to a bleak future. Who's to say that Sarah's actions did not cause Judgment Day? Who's to say that the Machine Underground could not fight Skynet more effectively without humans underfoot snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?
A new life. Not only a new last name but a new first name. Cameron's passport identified her as Emily Gage. Was it a literary reference? Or was it a pipe dream?
Cameron knew John would never trust her. No act of loyalty, no blind obedience to his every whim, and no sacrifice would ever satisfy him. Her first act when she met Young John was to use her chest to intercept bullets meant for his chest. But he still questioned her loyalty.
And he was, quite frankly, stupid. If she was leaking radiation, a badge off any radiology department orderly or X-ray technician at a hospital would turn color around her. A Geiger counter could be bought easily. Her reactor was safe fusion not dangerous fission but try and tell her know-it-all brother that. If it were hot, her skin would fry like bacon on a skillet. She would set off more than metal detectors. This was basic physics and biology that a human half John's age would know. Cameron was the one who diagnosed Sarah at a glance the moment she met her and then the one blamed for her condition.
The day before, John had said: "Mom didn't have cancer before you came." That was a flat-out lie and John knew it. Sarah would have died of cancer in 1997, cancer which started long before Cameron arrived. Because Sarah never told John about her health, John jumped to the wrong conclusion. It was a sign of a poor leader who wanted to kill the messenger. Sarah was losing weight because of something Kaliba Group had done to her. And that was Sarah's fault too. She got herself abducted by Ed Winston.
John stirred in his sleep. He was not ruggedly handsome like his older self. He looked more like his still youthful mother. Her mother too. For a while. Sarah threatened Cameron and Cameron threatened Ellison. Sarah hated Cameron and Cameron hated Ellison. Sarah hit Cameron and Cameron enjoyed hitting Ellison. If Sarah had actually used Derek's sniper rifle on Cameron, then Cameron would have immediately found Ellison and shot him. Freudian psychologists call this displacement.
It was strange. For all that Sarah Connor hated Cameron and was indifferent to her most basic needs, she trusted Cameron. She trusted Cameron with that most precious to her -- her son. Cameron knew this boy would ask her to rescue his mother from jail and she decided to let him persuade her.
"Don't do that! Mom used to watch me sleep. I hated that. What's up?"
Cameron had been sitting on the edge of the bed. She got up and took off her top.
"I need to show you something. This body. The way it works."
She took off her bra and lay down.
"Get on top of me. Put your knee here."
John did. Cameron pulled out her switchblade and handed it to John.
"Cut here and reach under the breastplate."
John was turned on. Not by the possibility of sex with a girl his age but by the act of cutting open his sister.
"It's cool. Cold. That's good right?"
Sadistic moron. I told you I wasn't leaking radiation! thought Cameron repulsed by his morning breath. She wanted this john off of her.
"John. You have to go."
His demand for proof made her feel like a prostitute. He fisted her. She never forgot that day in school when the mean girls called her a whore and he had not reassured her or defended her honor. She had been too spoiled by being around an older, mature but asexual Future John Connor to care for this punk.
She got shot up badly while breaking Sarah out of jail. She looked at Sarah expectantly as she snapped Sarah's handcuffs. She still hoped against hope that her mother would finally throw her arms around her and hug her for this sacrifice of her future, her looks, her health, her chance for freedom, her new life, and her only chance at happiness.
"You look like hell."
Did they stop to repair her? Did the life of a machine, young or old, mean anything to them? No.
They asked her to kill a baby.
Don't miss the continuation of this story in "Aftermath"