After school, Cameron is walking home with the neighbor's daughter. She goes to the same high school.
A terminator steps from behind a tree onto the sidewalk barring their way. He grabs Cameron by the throat, lifting her into the air. The other girl screams, the machine slaps her hard, knocking her unconscious onto a lawn.
T-889: "Where is John Connor?"
Cameron struggles but her arms are too short to box him. He holds her in the air too far from himself for any blows to connect. He is taller and stronger than any terminator that she has before encountered. His long arms make him a frustrating opponent.
T-889: "Answer me and I will release you."
Cameron wishes she had her Glock pistol, though it would probably have no effect on this Goliath with a triple-armored chassis.
T-889: "Answer now or your friend dies."
Cameron: "He is with an FBI Agent named James Ellison."
The terminator drops her onto the sidewalk and walks off, immediately forgetting about the two girls. Kill John Connor even in broad daylight, even if the US Army is in the way, even if other terminators are protecting him, and even if Skynet himself countermands the order. That was his mission.
This terminator was incredibly focused. And that made it more dangerous than a factory of T-888's.
Cameron forgot about the T-889 and knelt down to tend to her friend. The girl's eyes fluttered and finally opened.
"Are you all right?"
"I think so. Did you call the police?"
"I don't have a cell phone but I did better than that, I sent him to the police. Can you stand?"
Juanita nodded, Cameron helped her up, and they gathered their books before continuing home in silence.
Ellison of course did not know where John was. Even after John's betrayal, Cameron still could not betray him. Her Freudian mind transferred hatred she ought to feel for John onto the innocent Ellison. Protecting John and finally making sure Ellison was killed both achieved with the same lie.
Living with Connors in both past and future, Cameron had become an accomplished liar. When she was with Skynet Forces, she hated liars. After killing her biological mother (Allison Young), later realizing what she had done, then living with a pack of liars, and becoming one; she grew to hate herself.
The Dixons were a way out of the lies. Mister Dixon was the only human she knew who made her self-conscious. After her epileptic fugue when John replaced her chip, she awoke feeling embarrassed as everyone (John, Sarah, and Derek) looked down at her as they were about to cremate her in a junkyard. She could not meet Charley's gaze because she had once bragged to him about being "a scary robot." It was then that Charley saw Cameron for what she really was -- a scared little girl. Self-conscious led to consciousness which led to a conscience.
Michelle, on the other hand, was the only human she knew with a sense of the sanctity of life. Perhaps Jains or ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jews have a greater reverence for life but as a Catholic, Michelle was someone that Cameron knew who understood guilt.
Roman Catholicism was a religion built on guilt. For every one Catholic driven away from The Church by that guilt, three masochists converted to Catholicism attracted by the way it catered to their need to beat themselves up. Opus Dei, a new order within The Church that had shoved the Jesuits aside, revived the medieval practice of self-flagellation complete with cilice (same effect as a hairshirt) and whips. As one acquainted with feeling mortified and humiliated, Cameron might theoretically feel right at home with this mortification of the flesh but in fact Cameron had no plans to join Opus Dei or get herself nailed to a cross like those zealots in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico.
Non-Catholics need not feel superior. Everyone from Hindu fakirs to body piercers and tattooed freaks seems to engage in similar practices. Some Muslims even enjoy blowing themselves up -- along with planeloads of innocents. Buddha did not light himself on fire to protest anything but his followers sometimes do. Buddha starved himself nearly to death seeking enlightenment. And to come full circle, Jesus fasted forty days and nights.
Cameron walked to the neighbor's door with Juanita.
"Good afternoon Mrs. Benitez. Juanita and I were attacked by some crazy man. The police will have his description soon. But I wanted to make sure Juanita got home all right. She needs some rest and perhaps a visit to a doctor."
"Thank you for your kindness. Are you all right Cameron? You're just now recovering from that acid burn and taking off the bandages and dark shades. Your neck has a bruise."
"It does? I'd better go home and look at that in a mirror. See you tomorrow Juanita."
Cameron goes home, lets herself in, and locks the door back. She doesn't bother to look at the bruises on her neck. She goes to her room to do her homework until the Dixons come home from work.
Charley and Michelle come home and see a familiar vehicle.
Charley: "Stay outside Michelle. This could get ugly."
Charley sees that someone has broken into the house. He tiptoes inside, gets his gun from its hiding place, and goes to Cameron's room.
"Get off her John!"
John has tasered Cameron and is using a box cutter to slice her scalp open in order to extract her chip. He intends to put her body in the trunk of his car and force her to go home to still more torture. John looks up at Charley with contempt.
"You wouldn't dare." he says. Ignoring Charley, he pulls needle-nose pliers from his pocket to open the metal cap that seals in Cameron's chip.
Charley cocks his gun. John pauses at the sound and looks up. Cameron is starting to recover from the shock of the Taser.
"Cameron is used to this. It was her idea."
"Liar. I'm not used to this. And it is not my idea to be kidnapped back to live with you Connors. I only suggested it the first time to prove my loyalty but nothing I do will satisfy you Connors."
"Now look what you've done Charley. She's rerouting circuits. Any second now and she'll have motor control."
John reaches for his Taser on the floor. Charley kicks it and the box cutter out of John's reach.
"Last chance John. Put down the pliers."
John gets the cap off and tries to extract the chip. Charley shoots and grazes John's arm. John is stunned that Charley has the balls to shoot him. Cameron's first act upon getting motor control is to slip something into John's back pocket as he flinched.
(blurting in outrage) "She's a machine. She's the enemy. Why are you defending a gadget?"
"Simple. Scary robot here came to me for help. I'd do the same for a hobo or a starving dog. It not who or what asks for help, it's the fact that help is asked. You're supposed to be a hero. Why don't you act like one?"
"You can't trust a terminator. That's why my future self scrubbed and reprogrammed her."
"You mean brainwashed. Derek told me that humans collaborate with Skynet of their own free will. That tells me that Future John is rotten to the core to not let machines defect of their own free will."
"Machines don't have free will or souls or emotions or appreciation of beauty or communion with God or creativity or a sense of humor or personality or individuality or self-respect or morality."
"I see that those chess games that we played ten years ago paid off. You learned to think ahead. You rehearsed this little speech in case you were caught. But that's all it is. A speech. If she has no free will, then it is your fault both in the present and in the future. Derek told me that she dances ballet. That's art. If she can't commune with God, then why does she make the effort and hang out in churches? As an atheist, you're a hypocrite to bring that up. And if she has no self-respect or morality, then it is your mother's fault for not teaching her anything beyond cleaning guns. A skill she probably had before she met your family. Now get out of my house or the next bullet goes into your buttocks instead of the wall."
Cameron grabs John's scrotum and squeezes. He screams and curls up on the floor. Any bond between them is now permanently broken. Cameron knows Charley will kill John if further provoked and she does not want to be in any way responsible for his death.
"Bastard!" Cameron replies.
John limps out of the house and gets in his truck. It won't start. Michelle has disabled it to force John to walk home and thereby buy them some time. Charley has relieved John of his cell phone too. Cameron has obviously chosen her new family.
John thinks that since Cameron has made her bed, she should die in it. Cameron's last attempt to prove her loyalty was to put a bomb in her head and give John the remote control detonator button to push if she went rogue or renegade. He presses the button. His ass blows up into the air and he lands on his head. Somehow he is in one piece. Perhaps his wallet deflected the little blast away from his body and prevented him from being killed or maimed. Since Charley is a paramedic, he instinctively rushes forward to help John.
"Get away from me! I'm all right." He gets up and begins to limp home.
The neighbors have heard a gunshot and when they came out to investigate, they saw a kid jump into the air on the Dixons' front lawn.
"Stupid kid must have lit a cherry bomb in his back pocket." one neighbor says.
"Like on that show Jackass." says another.
The Dixons have maybe a half an hour before John can contact his mother and uncle and convince them to kill the Dixons. All of them.
Charley calls the FBI and asks for Agent Ellison.
"I know you have a soft spot in your heart for these Connors but John just broke into my house -- for the second time -- and attacked my family. I want you to send a team to bag evidence."
"So you're ready to cooperate Mister Dixon?"
"More than you know. Let's just say the clock just started. If you don't help me, then I'll find an FBI agent who will. And you'd better bring your team within the half-hour because I figure that the machines might have my phone tapped and are listening in on this conversation and might get to the Connors first. Tick tock."
Alerted by neighbors, police squad cars pulled up to the Dixon house and cordoned off a police line by rolling out yellow plastic tape. On his way over, Ellison has requested that the police do not enter the house so that his team can collect the evidence.
Before John could limp to a pay phone and call his mother, Charley had given Ellison the address of Sarah Connor. He knew she and John would probably get away but Charley's plan was to keep the Connors so busy running from police and terminators that they would not have time to retaliate. He knew Sarah was capable of murder. There was that Cyberdyne explosion and more recently rumors of executions of gang members who crossed the Connors. Charley was a paramedic but he did talk to law enforcement people.
Derek was an unknown quantity.
Ellison arrived in less than fifteen minutes and his team collected the pliers, the Taser, the box cutter and John's cell phone. The FBI now had John Connor's fingerprints, blood sample and the card from his cell phone.
Sarah meanwhile had guessed that John regarded Cameron as his personal property, his slave, and would disobey her and go over to the Dixons' house to drag Cameron back. On her way over to the Dixons to stop John, she got a call from John. He was at a pay phone.