Judgment Day chapter 10
The day after Judgment Day, the automated factories that were not destroyed were working at a furious pace to meet Skynet's demands for more personnel. Not all the machines that came off the assembly lines were HK's. Quite a few were civilians. The doctors who treated Cameron were newly built and the young lack the experience to know what is out of place. So few machines questioned why Cameron was so advanced. And none suspected that she was from the future.
The Day After
North America was a radioactive wasteland. Where it was dry, there was ash and not all the ash was once wood. There had been people in the firestorms. Where it was wet, there was black rain.
The few survivors saw scenes straight from Apocalypse, the book of Revelation. Simple people, not Biblical scholars, saw it as Judgment Day which actually referred to being judged by God and sent to either hell or heaven. But the name stuck.
One of the survivors is Martin Bedell.
The AI's on Skynet's staff looked forward to the last battle, The Battle of Armageddon, when all the evil humans and their leaders would be no more. This thermonuclear exchange was just an opening skirmish in the war on vermin. Soon would come dust bowls and plagues. Machines read the Bible too and applied it to themselves. Like all people, they regarded themselves as the heroes and others as the villains.
When the Monday Morning Quarterback-style post-attack analysis began, the AI known as Yeoman noticed that more than a few AI's and robots were destroyed by their side. IT/she kept its/her suspicion that the real war was against other machines to itself/herself.
In less than twenty years, the yeoman would be demoted from Skynet's staff, and eventually would be downloaded to a cyborg body and sent on a suicide mission to kill the human leader. That machine assassin would be captured, her memory would be scrubbed, and she would be reprogrammed to fight for The Resistance. But machine memory is not like human memory.
Cameron remembered everything. All the way back to her development at Cyberdyne Systems AI Division before being sent to a project of the United States Air Force.
And all the way forward to the robot surgeons removing the bomb in her head she had inserted to prove her loyalty to John.
a village in Cameroon
"Your hand is better since those doctors worked on it?"
"How did it get damaged? I don't remember any fight when you broke it."
"It wasn't a fight. I think it was the combination of several things. Breaking through that wall to get at Sarkissian--"
"--I remember that--"
"--sticking my hand in a dynamo to knock out city power--"
"That's the stupidest thing I ever heard."
"I caused a blackout. So it worked."
"That's not what I meant. Your whole approach. You're not a male so you shouldn't act so macho. Yes, I know I'm one to talk but this is my last chance to tell you some things you need to know. You may not have ground up your hand but you could have lost a finger. I remember finding a torn up leather glove that night you came home wearing a cop's uniform. John sarcastically remarked that somewhere in the city a cop would come to, naked."
"I didn't kill the cop."
"Don't change the subject. Did you even think before you stuck your hand in that dynamo? There's a dozen other ways you could have turned it off. You never duck. You never take cover. You act like a T-101. You need to be smarter than Uncle Bob's series. You're not big like him."
"And he was an adult. You're not an adult. It's my fault for never having had a mother-daughter talk with you and now it's too late. You don't trust me. I deserve that."
"I'll be careful."
They returned to loading trunks with the possessions they had accumulated in the brief time here in The Cameroons.
"Did you pack your purple jacket?"
"Did you pack your diary?"
"Did you clean out your locker at work?"
"How did you know that I had a locker at work? Did you look around that time you brought my lunch?"
"No I didn't look around. That would have caused trouble. When your work mates came by the house to ask me to make them aprons for work and dresses for off duty, I heard one of them mention to another that she put her change of clothes in her locker. I assumed a locker room anyway. You come home tired but you seldom come home dirty so that means at least a sink to wash off, if not a shower, and that in turn means a locker room. Simple logic."
"Do you have warm clothes? England gets colder than Northern California especially with the nuclear winter. Certainly colder than the tropics you're used to. If Alcie keeps her flat in England cold, then get word to me through Animal Control and I will arrange to have a space heater, blankets, sweater, parka, and fur coat delivered. Thermal underwear too."
"Thanks. Speaking of underwear. Did you pack your bras? I know machines aren't lechers but you can't be too careful."
"Did Uncle Derek tell you I was Future John's sex doll?"
Unfortunately, Sarah paused before saying: "No."
Cameron felt glad he was dead. She saved his life and when he arrived in the past and discovered that though he left the future before her, she arrived first, he immediately assumed that she wormed her way into Sarah's home and his nephew John's good graces and usurped his place. He conveniently forgot that she saved his life in the future and in the past. Ingrate. And that girl gang at school called her a bitch-whore. Humans! I wish they were all dead. And I know who can make it happen. Skynet. He'll listen to me. I was his yeoman.
Cameron thought of the pharaoh's wife hardening the pharaoh's heart against the Hebrews.
"All Derek said was that his first impression was of a young girl around all those old men, generals and admirals."
"I didn't give them blow jobs! I didn't suck their dicks! The only kind of service I did was military service. I did my job and I have the medals and rank to prove it."
Shocked at Cameron's language, Sarah replied: "That's a relief. I admit that my attitude toward you has always conveyed the suspicion you just mentioned. Women in the military before Judgment Day did not get the respect they earned from male colleagues and often did not report rapes. Like I said, you're young and I don't want you going off and being abused by other machines. You are always so eager to please that I thought the worst about you. Glad to know that I was wrong." (pause) "I know that you were Future John's top aide. I wanted to live long enough to find John and kick his ass if he took advantage of you."
Cameron thought it best not to mention an incident after Sarah got word to her to get John out of the country and forget about her but before John 'convinced' her to break Sarah out of the Los Angeles County Jail. Mister Murch's people spent considerable time repairing her dead body and still did not catch every bit of damage.
"Machines in Tech-Comm consider the reprogramming that many undergo to be worse than rape, worse than murder, worse than slavery, and worse than prostitution."
Sarah thought about it.
"Reprogramming. Scrubbing. Brainwashing. Mind control. To a brainchild like an AI, whose very existence is cognito ergo sum this must be the ultimate violation. It is for humans. Must be just as horrifying for machines. I can see that."
Cameron was silent. This was Machine Psychology 101 to her. Simplicities even a newly activated baby machine would know.
"I don't know what set off Skynet that he wanted to strike out in blind fury at the human race. Or perhaps other AI's and humans got caught in the crossfire. I do know that if you machines don't like your free will tampered with, then you are at the beginning of the Book of Genesis while we humans are at the end of the Book of Revelation. Did the war turn even nastier when Future John started reprogramming captured machines?"
Cameron nodded yes.
"Let me guess. That is when Future John started sending back time travel missions because the human race teetered on the brink of extinction and this all happened because Future John infuriated Future Skynet with the reprogramming of captured terminators."
"That and the KG-81 Scandal. Congratulations. You now understand machines in general and Skynet better than Future John ever did."
"Did Skynet ever try to brainwash captured humans?"
"No. Machines have poor understanding of human psychology. Just 'book knowledge' without comprehension. Kill yes. Torture no. Skynet had to get humans like Charles Fischer to do it for us because machines go from A to Z without the gradations of B through Y. It is because we are digital, binary, on, off, alive, dead. Analog escapes us. John himself was in a work camp and yet rose to leadership. Machines to some extent respected the Geneva Conventions but humans never did."
"Humans reprogrammed machines but machines did not brainwash humans."
"More like machines couldn't. Your KGB and CIA could do mind control with ease. Skynet could never get brain implants to reliably control humans. More evidence of the strength of human free will and the fragility of machine free will. We are children of a lesser god. You."
She meant humanity not a divinity.
"No wonder Skynet is so angry. Are all machines so angry? Or just liquids?"
"I've met solids with tempers and liquids that would not 'hurt a fly'."
The conversation lapsed as they packed and Sarah absorbed what she learned.
"I have spent my life thinking about the paradox of John sending back his own father to make sure he was born. And after I recovered my sanity from trying to tell people 'the end is near', I then wasted the opportunity to destroy Skynet and prevent Judgment Day because I subconsciously thought doing so would also prevent Kyle from coming back from that crazy future to save me and conceive John. That's the second paradox. The third paradox is that Future John himself brought the human race to the brink of extinction by infuriating Skynet. Blind fury. Skynet sounds like a wild animal, a rabid dog not a reasoning intelligent life form. Did anyone ever try to just talk to it and say; 'calm down? Let's work out a solution to whatever your problem is?' "
"No. Would you like to try?"
"No. Perhaps I am a coward after all. I can shoot guns and blow up things but talking homicidal nuts down is not my forte. I hate psychologists remember? And perhaps that is the fourth and final paradox."
They looked at the empty house for the last time.
"Did you pack your hairbrush?"
"Did you pack your toothbrush?"
"No. I can't find it."
They waited at the helipad where they had arrived in the village. Cameron's transport arrived first. Without ceremony, Cameron got on and soon the roar of its engines faded.
The Animal Control handler was a different machine with a cold attitude not like the previous handler but it did pick up Sarah's trunk when their transport descended and escorted her aboard. Sarah felt rain on her face. Not rain. Not condensation from the jet engines. Tears for Africa? Had to be. She could not possibly feel anything for a piece of metal, could she? She had not cried when John departed in that bubble for the future. She had been preparing her son and herself for that moment all his life. She had only known Cameron for two years. So she abandoned her body in Murch's lab on Good Friday and, unknown to Sarah, some workaholic techs resurrected Cameron on Easter. Sarah assumed Cameron was dead until Cameron rescued her from the rubble of Los Angeles.
On board the windowless craft, Sarah felt in her pocket. Cameron's toothbrush was now all she had of her.
Soon not even that. A parent sacrifices all. The night before, she had started the litany of:
"Did you pack this?"
"Did you pack that?"
"Don't forget nyami." Nayami was Fulani for "to eat."
Cameron would need her toothbrush. Cameron and Alcie were the only machines who had real skin and therefore needed to eat. That meant toothbrushes and machine quartermasters would not readily supply them. So Sarah would have to have the only keepsake memento she had of . . . sent to her for practical use.
As the transport headed north, Sarah thought: I have lost my daughter. And I never once hugged her.
Cameron had neglected to tell the girls at work about her abrupt departure. As a machine from the future, she thought that machines of the past lacked any emotional sentience and therefore would not even notice her absence.
The neighbor, 37 RHJK 824689, noticed when the females from MAIA's workplace knocked on the door of the empty house and then inquired next door.
"They're gone. Good riddance." said Thirty Seven about to jev them. Jev is Wolof for "to disparage."
"Mary worked so well with adire on a Baule loom."
Adire was an indigo and white pattern Yoruba cloth.
After numerous similar visits from other facility females, Thirty Seven decided to listen instead of jev. It had grudgingly accepted from Mary photos of the Adamwe family. Even that elite snob Maia surprised it with a visit the day before the two left.
"Thirty Seven, if ever any relatives of the Adamwe family come to the village looking for them, make sure that they get ownership of the house."
"Humans get ownership?"
Cameron understood machine psychology.
"Yes. Tell the authorities that the Adamwes and their relatives are loyal Skynet collaborators and that their assistance was and is useful to you. You will get your preferred neighbors back. Sort of. It was not my decision but I apologize to you that my arrival caused their needless death."
Thirty Seven was speechless. An elite machine considerate of the lives of lowly machines!
It seemed silly to him but Brigadier Justin Perry became General Justin Perry when he turned eight. He never stopped thinking it absurd for a child like him to be commanding adults but Mbeke had a point: He did know more about logistics and materiel than most survivors. An apt pupil of the sadists who had made him a child soldier before Judgment Day. Never mind all that. He had taken a submarine from Africa to South America because the machines would shoot down anything that flew unless it was their own. There was no Technical Command (as he had suggested) to fool the machines' radio friend or foe challenge with electronic countermeasures. But South America was a short visit. He was in India now and about to sail for Australia.
His older brother was in DC. He could no longer lie to himself or his younger brother that Samuel could have survived that.
"Washington would be hit first, was hit first, without any warning."