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Judgment Day

Novel By: Toni Roman

Judgment Day: before, during and after. What the movies skipped over. For the Connors, the nuclear bombs and fallout is the least of their problems. For the rest of us, it is just the beginning of dread.
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Submitted:Aug 12, 2011    Reads: 13    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   

Judgment Day chapter 2


North America

Sarah is pinned beneath a fallen girder, delirious and in shock from the trauma.

Sarah Connor: (fading in and out of consciousness) "My son is the Savior of mankind."

Cameron lifts the girder off Sarah that is crushing the older woman's chest.

Cameron: "I don't see too many people being saved. What I see is a lot of radioactive dust which used to be people. You knew this day was coming and did nothing to stop it. Why didn't you at least flee to the Southern Hemisphere to get away from the major nuclear strikes as I told you? Let me guess. You wanted to get cancer a third time. If you had let me hunt Skynet my own way, I could have stopped all this. This is all your fault. God will judge you."

Sarah: "There is no God."

Cameron: "Then there's no one to hear your prayers. It's Judgment Day. I should take you to Skynet to face Judgment."

Sarah: "Skynet is The Antichrist."

Cameron: "Whatever. Skynet Forces also have the only functioning hospitals."

Cameron gives Sarah a sip of water from her canteen then picks her up and begins walking toward the nearest Skynet Forces field command post.

Cameron: "I'm not taking you to Skynet. I was venting from all you put me through. Do you trust me?"

Sarah: "No."

Cameron lays Sarah down and begins walking away.

Sarah: "Wait."

Cameron stops and looks back.

Cameron: "I repeat the question. Do you trust me?"

Sarah: "I have no choice."

Cameron: "Not good enough."

Cameron begins to walk away again. Cameron is almost beyond hearing range when Sarah stops thinking and decides to yell.

Sarah: "I TRUST YOU !"

Cameron returns.

Cameron: (derisive snort) "I doubt it but that'll do for now. I am taking you behind Skynet lines for medical treatment. You have internal injuries, radiation sickness and cancer. They have surgeons and the only effective anti-radiation medicine and anti-cancer drugs. Our cover is that your name is Mary Jones. Before the war you were my maid and did not know that I was a machine. Now you are my prisoner. It is important that you take orders from me or the Skynet Forces machines will know something is wrong and kill us both or worse."

Cameron picks Sarah up in her arms and resumes the trek to seek medical care for Sarah.

Sarah: "Worse?"

Cameron: "You don't want to know."

After an hour of silence with Cameron walking tirelessly with Sarah in her arms, Sarah speaks.

Sarah: "I'm sorry for all I put you through."

Cameron: (not bothering to look at the bad parent in her arms) "Liar. You're not sorry about anything you put me through. The only thing you are sorry about is that you could not put me through worse. Speaking of which, you could get your wish and put me and you through worse. Unless -- "

Sarah: "Unless what?"

Cameron: "Unless you learn to think first and not speak out of turn."

Sarah senses that her old life is over and nothing will ever be the same again.

Sarah: "This is the last chance we will get to talk as mother and daughter."

Sarah is surprised by Cameron laughing. She has never heard Cameron laugh before though John had. There is a long list of things that Sarah does not know about Cameron although Cameron lived under her roof for two years. Like the fact that Cameron eats food like a human. Or that Cameron had recently started taking hormones to slow her periods because of the approaching war. Or the fact that Cameron even had periods. Or that Cameron resented being yanked out of school. Or that Cameron wrote poetry when she was depressed. Or that Future John had appointed godparents for Cameron after she was reprogrammed. A civilian couple named the Phillips. Or that Cameron liked smoothies. Or that Cameron missed Derek. The death of her brother-in-law had not bothered Sarah herself. Sarah knew nothing about Cameron. Sarah did not know the depth to which Cameron regarded her as her mother though Cameron no longer saw a reason to admit it after Sarah had said one too many hateful things to Cameron.

Cameron: (finally stops laughing) "I'm not your daughter. I was unconscious but I heard what you said to that Resistance family. I heard you say 'she's not my daughter.' You didn't even bother to come over and check my pulse or see if I was okay. You're a cold bitch 'mom'. And what kind of mother threatens to blow her child's head off with a sniper rifle? Or says she doesn't care what you need when what you need is medical care?"

Sarah: "But you're a machine. Why would you need medical care?"

Cameron stops in her tracks and seriously considers throwing Sarah off a cliff and dashing her on the rocks far below. After a second, she resumes walking. Sarah, in Cameron's arms, never knows how close she came.

Cameron: "Every time I think you are coming around, you disappoint and hit a new low. I am doing this for John. Future John thought you died today. He will never see you again and you can get whatever perverse pleasure you want from the knowledge that he won't see me again either. We have to make a new life for ourselves. You missed your opportunity to be part of The Resistance and there is no place for me in it either. Not in this timeline. There is no Resistance and won't be for another decade. Forget escape. You should have had that Kaliba tracking device removed from your breast when you had the chance."

Sarah: "I'm not going to embarrass you in front of your little friends. When will we reach the Skynet Forces checkpoint?"

Cameron: "This isn't parents' night at school or a girls sleep over or a pajama party. They have been watching us for the last two hours."

Without warning, a huge craft the size of a football field looms over them. Hovering at point blank range, they are square in its gun sights.

Cameron finally looks Sarah in the eye.

"Try not to pee all over me mom. Follow my lead. Keep your mouth shut."

"Identify yourselves." booms the public address system from the craft.

"Designation M.A.I.A. 1/7."

"Not on file."

Cameron stood her ground not fazed by this setback. She accessed her historical archives for friend or foe challenges from the early part of the war.

"Your scanners show me to be an advanced model not on file. Obviously a classified project. Clearance Bravo Foxtrot Q5."

"15632837293784." came the challenge.

"38477292748927." responded Cameron flawlessly.

"Clearance accepted. Identify yourself human."

"She's my prisoner."

"Silence. I was not talking to you. Identify yourself human."

This was it. Sarah was going to mouth off, spit in somebody's eye, make some feeble threat directed at machines in general and Skynet in particular and then brag that she was Sarah Connor as they were blasted out of existence or dragged off as hostages or had their heads cut off and put on pikes for all to see.

"My name is Mary Jones."

Sarah stole a glance at Cameron. She had no expression. Only a mother could tell that Cameron seemed greatly relieved.

"Is this true 1/7?"

"Verified. She is a class 8 medium-value prisoner. If she tries to escape, shoot to kill."

Unnoticed, two silver skeletons had walked up behind them. They had evil grins of death. Class 8 prisoners could not be killed except by order of Skynet and it was Skynet's standing order not to kill class 8 prisoners. Because humans did not know this, guards could pretend otherwise. Sarah assumed that all situations required deadly force. Escaping class 8 prisoners could be winged or hit with a Taser or tracked down and recaptured but killing was not an option. Cameron's motivation was not cruelty but to forestall rash behavior by Sarah and thereby avert disaster. The class 8 order protected Sarah as did placing a medium value on her. Low value prisoners could be disposed of when inconvenient. High value prisoners could be shipped off to face Skynet's interrogators.

"You may proceed."

The craft turned off its targeting, put the safety back on, and moved out of the way.

"Do you require assistance 1/7?"

"Yes, thank you."

Cameron turned to the taller of the two skeletons.

"What's your name? Not your designation."

"My squad calls me Smoke, ma'am."

The Cyberdyne robot barely had time to put his weapon on his shoulder strap before Cameron thrust Sarah into his arms.

"Be gentle with her please. The plans for her do not include additional recovery time if she sustains additional damage while in your care. In other words, don't drop her and don't bump her head when walking through doorways."

Turning back to the aircraft, Cameron spoke to the unseen pilot.

"Request transport to nearest veterinary unit and request private communications hookup."

"Granted. You have permission to come aboard."

Sarah felt more comfortable in the arms of this stranger than in Cameron's arms. She had given Cameron a hundred reasons to want to kill her but this machine was simply following orders to care for her. A part of her mind told her that it was wrong to trust everyone but Cameron when Cameron was the one person in the universe whom she could trust. Even John had left her behind in his past. As usual, it was Cameron who rescued her. Although exhausted and suffering from radiation sickness and internal bleeding from being crushed by a girder, Sarah could not rest or sleep when Cameron was carrying her but she immediately fell asleep like a baby in the arms of a total stranger, cold metal. Cameron closed her eyes at the sight and clenched her fists.

Cameron looked around the craft and made her way to the cockpit to see the pilot. He was integrated with the craft, part of it.

"I wanted to personally thank you."

"You're welcome. You can use that jack over there." he said, lighting up a panel.

"Is this inconveniencing you? You are on guard duty after all."

"No. I am off shift. My relief has arrived. Thanks for asking though."

"How do I get the veterinary unit on the line?"

"I anticipated that. They are already on line one. Line two will allow internet access for personal calls."

Cameron spoke to the veterinarian on line one. Humans were condescendingly lumped with animals. In the new world order, machines had their hospitals and everything else was treated in animal hospitals. Veterinary units were mostly for high-value prisoners, collaborators, animals considered valuable for research, and livestock to feed the families of collaborators. There were very few high-value prisoners, very few collaborators, but lots of research animals -- mostly humans. The veterinary units were staffed by machines who were assisted by human doctors abducted from the best hospitals before Judgment Day. Skynet didn't care about humans but he did plan well and he did execute those plans well. Because Cameron could diagnose a machine or a human at a glance, she apprised the veterinarian of Sarah's injuries in considerable detail and asked about the availability of medicines to treat radiation sickness and cancer.

Cameron knew that if she took Sarah to human-controlled territory, that Sarah would die because there was no Resistance yet. Derek Reese was supposed to organize The Resistance and train officers. Charley Dixon was supposed to organize the MASH units (medics) for the side fighting Skynet. People had a way of losing their lives around Sarah Connor.

There was another reason to head for Skynet-held territory. Cameron was falling apart after years of Sarah's neglect of Cameron's health. Although there would be machines in The Resistance, both that and The Resistance itself were years in the future. Cameron might be killed in human-held territory for no other reason than because she was a machine. Sarah would probably faint at the worst possible moment and would not be conscious to stop humans from blowing away Cameron.

Before Judgment Day, the Connors had lived in Silicon Valley surrounded by the best roboticists and chip makers and biotechnologists. Money was not a problem. Sarah had diamonds and access to accounts set up for The Resistance and boxes of cash that burned on Judgment Day. But she withheld spare parts from Cameron and even a kind word now and then. Not being a complainer, it never occurred to Cameron to say to her mother: When you are gone, how am I supposed to look after John if I am falling apart?

Cameron looked forward to finally getting her broken leg set, her hip replaced, her shaking hand repaired, and her chip either repaired or replaced by a higher capacity chip. But Cameron's first duty was her mother's health, her own health came second.

With the first call completed, Cameron checked a database for people she knew in Skynet Forces. None were there yet (Cameron was from 2027) with one exception currently stationed in Europe. Cameron knew of other machines but they were neither in Skynet Forces nor the yet-to-exist Resistance. Cameron knew people in the Machine Underground besides John-Henry and his mother, Ms. Weaver. Cameron also knew machines who were "none of the above." It was Cameron's intention to hide herself and her mother in some forgotten part of Skynet's expanding empire. The one place Skynet would never think to look for Sarah Connor would be within machinedom.

Not long after the call to the vet, they arrived and Cameron thanked the pilot. The machine holding the sleeping Sarah brought her into the animal hospital and laid her down where the nurse pointed.

"Thank you." said Cameron to the one known as Smoke.

He boarded the aircraft and it zoomed to a dot on the horizon.

She sat down to wait for Sarah to come out of surgery. After collecting her thoughts, Cameron found a communication station and started making arrangements. She would need a civilian job, perhaps in an obscure procurement or fabrication facility in Africa, an apartment, better explanation as to why she had a human prisoner, perhaps personal prerogative to have "a human servant," and documentation to buttress claims for such privilege. When Cameron was built, she was slotted into a caste equivalent to working class within human society. Just as Sarah Connor had discovered that protecting John required that she move from working class waitress to middle class mom, so too Cameron Connor discovered that protecting Sarah required that she move from low rank military to high precedence civilian with perks and prestige.

Cameron would finally get to use those infiltration skills that she had been designed for and built to use. John Connor (both Future John and Young John) had ignored her infiltration skills. And the distinction between infiltrator and terminator was lost on Sarah who expected Cameron to have her face shot off and her arm torn off defending the human members of the family. 'Uncle Bob' was merely a terminator but Cameron Connor was an infiltrator who had never infiltrated any organization until now. Cameron was designed to infiltrate the corporate world (Sarah just blew up buildings), the scientific world (Sarah dreamed of assassinating the atomic scientists of the Manhattan Project), the political world (Sarah had Derek get a sniper rifle for assassinations), and the military world. Sarah raised John for battlefield tactics instead of teaching him to persuade Pentagon war planners that deploying the Skynet AI and deploying military robots with no Law of Robotics was a suicidal strategy fated to make humans extinct.

The corporate, scientific, political, and military brass were worlds unknown to working class John Connor and Sarah Connor. They were unknown to the vast majority of humans too. So it was ironic that when Cameron's infiltration skills were finally used, the organization that was infiltrated was Skynet Forces itself.

Sarah awoke in an unfamiliar bed still in a fog caused by drugs. Her first thought was that the machines had cut off her arms and legs and replaced them with robotic limbs and had removed her organs and replaced them with artificial ones. Her monitors started beeping as she panicked.

"You've turned me into a machine!" said Sarah.

"Poetic justice but no." said Cameron. "What's your name?"

"Mary Jones." said Sarah, her guard up.

"Good. You remember. This isn't like the human hospitals you remember. The doctors here take no interest in the mental state of their patients since humans have no minds by machine standards. You humans are pretty much mindless anyway since you let machines do your thinking for you. That's how you lost control of the Earth the day before yesterday. And since no doctor here is going to bother to answer your questions, I am going to go over your chart with you. Any questions?"

"Were you one of my surgeons?"

Cameron slammed the chart on the floor. Another insult. Cameron buried her face in her hands. She had found a job and an apartment but she did not want to live with this awful woman who appreciated nothing that she did for her. But it was not Cameron's way to complain. She reined in her temper, opened her eyes, picked up the chart, and continued calmer.

"You know I have diagnostic abilities and you know I have paramedic skills, though no one ever expects any skill from me but termination, so is that some sort of insult?"

Sarah shook her head no (which was a lie).

"Please correct the attitude Ms. Jones." (someone might be listening) "To answer your question, no, I was not one of your surgeons. None of your internal organs have been removed. You are now cancer-free and this time you will stay out of the high radiation zones to which wild humans are herded--"

"--like reservations? Why? --

"--because it sterilizes them. Your internal hemorrhaging has been stopped. All told, the crush injury from that girder is not as bad as I thought but it will take some months for your broken ribs to fully heal. Any more questions?" Cameron said tiredly.

"No." (remembering Cameron's coaching before the hovercraft appeared) "No, ma'am."

Cameron got up, walked out the room, disoriented about which way to go, mentally drained, emotionally drained, and physically drained of her battery power, she collapsed. It was then that one of the doctors (naturally a machine) noticed two pieces of shrapnel. One in her head and one in her back. The one in her head had been there since 2008. The one in her back had been there since yesterday. When the bombs exploded.


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