"Skynet does it."
Sarah Connor: "You're not leaving this house."
Cameron: "John needs me."
Sarah Connor: "If John needed you he would have asked for you. He didn't. You're not leaving this house."
Cameron: "The police could identify Riley's body at any time. I need to be with him if they do."
Sarah Connor: "If they do they'll probably come here. So we should be happy he's out. Why are you here?"
Cameron: "To protect John, hunt Skynet, stop Judgment Day."
Sarah Connor: "But why are you here? Right now, with us? John sent you here from the future. He sent you away. Away from him. Maybe you should think about that. Maybe you should think about why he didn't want you around anymore."
John never heard his mother say "I love you" as he left for the last time. If Sarah had known what John did on the morning of the last day she saw him alive, then she might not have said it.
If Sarah Connor were alive to see this, she would projectile vomit.
Cameron is laid open like a gross anatomy lab specimen or a medical examiner's autopsy. John and his infernal research. He wants to understand how cyborgs work. That is understandable. But why can't he study dead terminators? Why does he have to study her? It would be her own fault for being so helpful except that she is not responsible for her own reprogramming. John is. She is merely a victim.
After several failed relationships with machines and humans, Cameron had married another machine in The Resistance. He is also programmed for docility and willingness to do anything John asks. But he refuses to enter the lab when John is cutting open Cameron with the flensing knife. If he had had the ability to override self-preservation, then he would have hung himself in despair at not being able to stop these ghastly Dr. Josef Mengele-type biomedical researches.
One day while cutting down into the lower half of Cameron's body, John comes upon something that he has never seen in previous anatomical studies of her.
"What's this?" he asked her.
Cameron is rare in the machine world. There are few machines with the ability to reproduce. Cameron and her husband are two with the ability. 'Reproductives' keep the knowledge of their status secret from humans and secret from other machines. Within The Resistance and Tech-Com this is especially true. No machine in The Resistance wants to be the subject of one of John's horrific experiments. Skynet does these experiments on humans so John has no problem doing them on machines. Even his own sister.
John repeated: "What is this?"
"Please John, don't cut it open. My husband and I are trying."
The scalpel falls out of John's hand, his stomach does a flip-flop, and he runs out of the lab for the nearest rest room. Cameron cannot run after him even if she is so inclined because her guts are all spread out and he has not closed her back up.
Cameron cannot raise her head to look and see if anyone else is in the lab. She hears no one.
"Hello?" she calls out.
Perhaps someone might hear her and send somebody to close her up. She is late for her next duty assignment. The joint services admin committee.
She hears approaching footsteps from far away. Perhaps one of the others who use this lab. Perhaps they might feel sorry for her and use the bioepoxy and the removable sutures for the cuts that will take longer than forty-eight hours to heal. Cameron can heal very fast but with the careful, methodical, layer by layer, one layer a day, one layer per lab session, one lab session lasting an hour, even Cameron can only heal but so fast.
Tears trickle down Cameron's face in gratitude as one of John's medics enters and begins to close her up. For the first time, someone bothers to use antiseptic. Ordinarily, that precaution to avoid infecting her is not bothered with because it is assumed that machines like her do not get infections in their synthetic tissue.
The medic will not look her in the eye but merely blushes profusely as if to say that we humans are not all monsters. The closing took a long time because of all the layers involved. The man does not do a sloppy hurried job. He takes the time to do it right.
"Thank you." Cameron keeps saying to assure the man that his efforts are appreciated. He merely nods and swallows hard as if a lump is in his throat.
When done, the medic finally gets up the nerve to look at her face and then back down at the floor as she sits up on the steel table with the drains.
While Cameron gets dressed, he clears his throat nervously and then says:
"If you have any aftereffects such as oozing from wounds or inflammation, you should go to the infirmary and ask for a doctor. Under orders from John Connor, all machines under his command now have the right to biomedical health care from whichever doctor, human or machine, that they prefer. Doctor-patient confidentiality will be respected or the doctor will face disciplinary action up to and including the death penalty. And this next part is my own words not John's." (he pauses to clear his throat and turns his head to regain his composure) "On behalf of the entire Tech-Com medical staff, we have long felt disgraced by the questionable bioethics of research on live subjects but felt that we could not say anything because John Connor has kept us all alive. But at a terrible price. We don't feel that we even have the right to ask for forgiveness. All we can say is that we are truly sorry."
"I still have to report back here tomorrow." she replied to his speech.
"No. You don't. The research on live subjects is over. We'd rather lose the war than continue it."
Cameron allows herself to feel relief. A feeling she has not had since . . . ever. She has never felt relief, before now.
Cameron doesn't give the speech much thought. Before and after lab sessions, she still has her official duties to perform; delivering messages, helping out in the time research lab, attending briefings, training recruits, writing reports, going on quick missions to field commanders (she no longer does extended missions), and other miscellaneous duties according to the daily duty roster. She notices on the duty roster that she has been removed from advising John at planning sessions and another duty, personal assistant to him when he is out in the field.
Noticing these two removals, Cameron asks a general about it.
"Officer Phillips, it is nothing you have done wrong. John just doesn't want you around him anymore."
Cameron quickly recovers but the general sees the pain on her face before she can hide it.
"If I have done nothing wrong as you say, then why doesn't he want me around?"
"Because you're too good. I've seen it before. A yeoman who would do anything for her commanding officer. I'm not suggesting anything sexually inappropriate. I know that doesn't happen. Not with you. No man, flesh or metal, would dare. I am talking about the cyborg research. You allowed yourself to be used as an experimental animal. This while still performing all your other duties. And performing your duties well I might add. To cut to the chase, John Connor was out of line."
Cameron gasps. Something she learned from humans.
"Don't act like I'm committing treason. I'm a general. I don't have to think of John Connor as God. If I did think of him as God, I wouldn't be any good to him. An officer needs to be able to speak truth to power or he is giving bad advice to his commander in chief."
The general dismisses her with a perfunctory wave.
For the next year, John avoids mirrors, avoids talking except when absolutely necessary, avoids eye contact with everyone and, most of all, avoids Cameron.
Cameron still wonders if she has done something wrong. She has never been estranged from him before. Their relationship has been like father and daughter, this leader of mankind and his yeoman. Now he is sending her away on a new mission. To live with his younger self before the bombs fell and the world ended.