The Charley Dixon Records 1
Hello. My name is Charley Dixon and this is my story. When I first met Sarah Connor ten years ago in another state, I was just an ambulance driver for an emergency medical service and she was a waitress in a diner. She was also an overprotective mother obsessed with defending, securing, shielding, and safeguarding her son. That morning I proposed marriage and the same afternoon I came home and Sarah and my would-be stepson were gone.
An FBI man tells me that she is a crazy terrorist who believes robots from the future are out to kill us all. I'm not the only fiancé‚ that she has jilted. A man named Daniels has gotten the same shabby treatment.
A decade later, I had progressed from an EMT to an advanced paramedic and owned my own ambulance. I met Michelle, she became my new fiancée, and then I see Sarah on the ten o'clock news.
Weeks later, her son John who hasn't aged a day and who should be almost thirty years old is standing in my kitchen when I come home and he punches me. I assume that he blamed me for Sarah running out on me. As if I was somehow at fault and not his paranoid schizophrenic mother. I shrugged it off as typical teen twisted logic. That was my first mistake. The next time I see John, he is begging me to come with him to help someone who can't go to the hospital. It turns out to be his uncle bleeding to death from a gunshot wound to the chest. Sarah is there and she hasn't aged a day either. I have. I'm still a young man but a decade has passed and I have moved on with my life.
Somebody else is there. A girl who I assume Sarah has adopted. And that is where I made my second mistake. I accepted their attitude toward the girl. It turns out that she is a better paramedic than I am. How? She is from the future where they have managed to make advances in emergency medicine under battlefield conditions -- but then that's where advances are usually made. She is also a cyborg. The future part is hard to swallow since I have read a few time travel stories and know about paradoxes and how it should cancel itself out. The cyborg part is very easy to believe because I see people with artificial organs and prostheses all the time. And besides, we live not far from Silicon Valley, where they make medical devices, and not far from places like Loma Linda and Cedars-Sinai where breakthrough operations are done all the time. Okay, so the girl is a cyborg. No big deal. But it was big deal to the Connors -- Sarah, Derek, and John. They could not get past it. I accepted that they were leery of her and, as I said, that was my second mistake.
Derek had pushed Cameron, that's the girl's name, away from him when he was bleeding out. I later learn that she had saved his life twice before and he always conveniently forgot that fact and focused on the negative.
Sarah verbally abused the girl who accepted as Holy Writ every negative thing she was told about herself and her situation: "You're a lifeless, soulless machine."
Actually Cameron is a living cyborg; I leave issues of soul to theologians to debate.
Sarah: (to Cameron) "Who told you that you could think? I have not given you permission to think."
Granted I found out a lot of this years later but, at the time, I should have sensed something wrong. One day, curiosity got the better of me. I went out to the shed in Sarah's backyard where they had a cinder block pit. Cameron was expected to kill her fellow cyborgs and then incinerate their bodies by order of Sarah Connor. Cameron added an extra step. She sliced off their skin and put the synthetic skin in freezer baggies. The others would have immediately seen conspiracy in this since they interpreted EVERYTHING Cameron did as treason punishable by death without trial or legal representation. I, on the other hand, saw it for what it was -- building up an organ donor bank for herself. A prudent thing to do since no hospital could treat her if she were injured. And she got injured quite a bit as the Connors' slave.
As I stood there watching her, Cameron felt she had to say something so that I would not tell Sarah that she had done something wrong. Slaves always expect a beating.
Cameron: "I'm a scary robot. You should not be here."
She dropped the flare on the accelerant-soaked endoskeleton in the pit, smoke billowed up and flame cast her face in a bad light and that's where I made that second mistake. She did look kind of scary in that light and I accepted the family's attitude that she was everybody's -- fill in your own [expletive deleted] or N-word. It doesn't matter. I went along with it and I should not have. In hindsight, I should have gotten her out of that household. But would she have listened to me or trusted me then?
The next time I saw what was left of the girl, she was in a junkyard and it was her endoskeleton that was about to be burned. Her jeep had blown up (anyone else would have died) and the shell shock sent her neural net into a Jacksonian psychomotor epilepsy fugue. Even brain-damaged, Cameron passed on the opportunity to kill Sarah when she was lying on the ground. Her "threat" to John consisted of throwing a small wrench, when much larger and deadlier tools were there, and giving him dirty looks. Sarah and John's solution to this "menace" was to hit Cameron with a truck, lobotomize her (a procedure they did with disturbing frequency), and incinerate her.
As I watched this impromptu funeral in the junkyard, at the last second, John decided that his future self might not send a replacement for Cameron. So he replaced her CPU chip and stuck a gun in her hand loaded with blanks. Cameron came to and, in my entire life, I have never seen someone so embarrassed, humiliated, and shamed.
But no guilt.
A subtle distinction that most people are incapable of understanding. Guilt says I did a bad thing. Shame says I am a bad thing. Living with "Ma Barker and gang", Cameron was conditioned to think of herself as bad just for existing. But Cameron correctly understood that though she had turned over the SUV in which Sarah and John were trying to escape her, she was not responsible for her actions any more than any epileptic is responsible for having a seizure. The brain damage and the Skynet programming was not Cameron's fault. If anything, blame Sarah for making enemies of the mob that planted the car bomb and then not telling Cameron to check her vehicle before starting it. Cameron could diagnose any human or machine with a touch. If she had not been distracted with going to buy a birthday cake for John, Cameron would never have started her jeep without noticing that a bomb was connected to the ignition.
Like Derek, Sarah conveniently forgot that Cameron had saved her life on several occasions and never let her live down anything incorrectly perceived as betrayal.
I didn't know all this as I watched Cameron in that junkyard hand the gun back to John. She had no intention of shooting anyone that day. She looked around at John, at Sarah, and at Derek. But she avoided looking me in the eye. And I knew why.