Judgment Day chapter 3
Cameron was taken to a "real hospital" since the "animal hospital" that Sarah was in did not have the specialists, the resources, and the equipment to properly treat her. Though HK's were considered disposable and the new Cyberdyne robot infantry grunts got substandard care in Skynet Forces (the quality care reserved for the higher ups), Cameron had friends she did not know about. One of those friends was luck and the other was a pilot who knew other pilots. The pilot who took Cameron and her human companion to the vets had been impressed by the unusual machine and told his fellow pilots to look after her. Therefore, transportation to a "real hospital" was easy to arrange and the second pilot, in turn, informed the first pilot.
Sarah Connor was now on her own and aware that one wrong word and she could die. Expressing the words out loud:
What's to become of me?
would elicit no sympathy because no one cared what became of a human. Not even the human doctors and the human "patients" at the animal hospital.
However, Sarah knew that she needed Cameron -- if Cameron were still alive -- in order to stay alive herself.
Cameron would never again believe that Sarah cared about her. Sarah had never cared what happened to Cameron and Cameron had finally realized it. Cameron soldiered on with daughterly concern about Sarah no longer out of love but for John's sake even though John would never know that Cameron continued to care for his mother. At least that was Sarah's view.
But the best definition of love is that another person's happiness is more important than your own. By that definition, Cameron still loved Sarah. And John. But they had no love for her.
Sarah overhears doctors discussing removal of shrapnel from Cameron's head and back. She was unaware of shrapnel. She was assuming they were repairing damage she knew about and Sarah has heard them discussing removal of organs they have never seen before.
She whispers to her handler from Animal Control. "Could you please ask them if may I speak?"
"Why are you here human?"
"I'm her servant and I have information that you may find useful."
"Unlikely but continue."
"You should find a fractured leg, a twitch in her left hand, and her chip is damaged. Also you should not remove those organs that you cannot identify."
"She is an advanced model."
"How would you know that? And we already know about the damaged leg, hand, and chip."
Another doctor is doing scans to confirm diagnostics.
"I have been with my mistress since before the nuclear bombs."
"What kind of advanced model?"
"I honestly don't know. She told me not to inquire because she said it was classified. So I did not inquire."
That pretense at obedience seemed to satisfy most of the doctors except one.
"I think you caused the damage you described."
"Not directly but indirectly. I ignored her suggestion to get out of Los Angeles before the nuclear strikes and she came to rescue me during the worst of it and sustained damage as a result. I only discovered she was a machine two days ago when word spread among survivors that machines now rule. I am told that some damage occurred years ago. I would not have known what to do. She did know what to do and she brought me in for what you call veterinary care. Even if I was a robotics engineer, the machines I have seen hunting and killing are all large, male, and adult whereas she is small, female, and growing."
"You imply harvesting. You would have been killed if you had resisted. But I am not military. So I do not care that you are a Skynet prisoner." remarked one doctor.
"What do you mean growing?"
"She can develop the same way a human child can grow into an adult. I did say that she is an advanced model."
"Adults are not supposed to put a child in harm's way." said one.
Sarah thought about the car bomb that almost killed Cameron -- the result of taking on a gangster -- and her reaction was to run from Cameron without trying to help her even when a second explosion blew the stairs out from under Cameron. It was humans, Sarkissian's gang, who blew up Cameron's jeep and their home but Sarah's first reaction was to run from Cameron. No wonder Cameron was confused and angry. Had Sarah planted the bomb? Sarah began to cry in frustration, fear and fatigue.
"Did you regard her as a child?" asked one.
"Yes." said Sarah honestly.
"Then why didn't you protect her?"
Sarah started sobbing.
"What is it doing?" said one doctor to another.
"I believe it is called crying. It is supposed to express sadness or joy. Crocodile tears. Unlike machines, humans do not have real emotions, just chemical cascades from their endocrine glands."
Cameron woke up. She heard snoring and sat up in bed. There were numerous wires and tubes attached to her but she managed to look over the foot of her bed. On the floor was a woman not wearing a stitch except the stitches closing her chest from the surgery at the animal hospital. Cameron resisted the urge to yell: Get my mother some clothes and a bed!
Sarah was curled up in a fetal position. Cameron found the button to call the nurse.
"This human is a class 8 prisoner and my personal slave. Please find her a patient gown and some panties."
"We don't have clothes for humans here."
Cameron said nothing. She just looked calmly at the nurse, a cold steely machine resembling a T-500 but obviously not designed for termination. At this point in history, Skynet had very few models of machines because he had yet to begin large scale diversification and the Design Center did not yet exist. The staff at this facility represented some of the first non-HK's and some of the first nonmilitary machines under Skynet Authority.
"We'll find something clean and suitable." said the nurse.
"Thank you and it would be nice if an orderly could find her a cot or at least a blanket so she doesn't sleep on the cold floor. She just came out of surgery yesterday."
The nurse hesitated.
"This isn't an animal hospital."
"True, but you don't want doctors tripping over her lying on the floor."
The nurse nodded at the logic of this.
"Thank you for your understanding. We will be gone soon enough and no more trouble for you. I was supposed to report to work today at a site in Africa."
"You are not scheduled to be released for three days."
"Then I will provide the designation of my work supervisor and your hospital administrator can tell them the reason for the delay. My supervisor cannot override your administrator."
Cameron was no lawyer but this would have made a lawyer she knew in Skynet Forces proud. She had saved her new job with a note from the doctor, gotten decent treatment for her mother, turned a potential enemy (the nurse) into a friend by giving her respect, and ensured that her doctors had sufficient time in which to complete long-delayed repairs on herself. By contrast, her mother had left the animal hospital before they had nursed her completely back to health.
Cameron requested a notebook computer. She composed an email which would be sent in four days to someone she knew to explain why she did not contact them immediately (she didn't want to sponge off them), a thank you note to the hospital administrator, an advisory to her work supervisor on her ETA with attachment, a message to the veterinarians, and a communiqu' to the first pilot to thank him and to ask if there was some way that she could repay the favor.
The message to the vet was involved: please complete the human's course of treatment for radiation sickness and cancer, please complete post-op follow-up to make sure that there are no complications from the surgery for the internal injuries (from the girder that fell on Sarah), please check on the healing of the broken rib, please extend all courtesies to the human's handler from Animal Control, and please return the human to me on a day coinciding with the completion of its treatment at your facility and the completion of my treatment.
"The exact time to be determined by the hospital administrator here and the administrator of the animal hospital where you are chief of veterinary medicine, surgery and pathology. I am told that because of advances in biotechnology and because of the therapeutic skill of your staff in the areas of toxicology, pharmacology, immunology, and oncology that discharge should take place in three days.
According to my information, your facility has a preventive medicine specialist on staff. Although it is unusual for a doctor to speak to a "patient" at your hospital, even a human one, I request that your prevention specialist pay this human a visit. It has a suicidal tendency to seek out high radiation zones, nuclear power plants, unnecessary X-rays, and other carcinogens. I ordered it to relocate to the Southern Hemisphere prior to the thermonuclear exchange to avoid exposure but it would not leave me. It is hard to damn such loyalty. Hence, you can understand why I have taken a slight interest in the well-being of my slave. If your prevention specialist can instill a healthy fear of radiation in the human, then I will be in your debt.
Finally, as you know, I am being transferred to Africa to take up civilian work. I cannot ascertain clear information on what, if any, veterinary facilities are available to civilians with pets in the machine community there. Although I will be a reservist for awhile, I don't know that Skynet Forces has animal hospitals in Africa that will be available to me for my human. Therefore, I assume that rehabilitation is my own responsibility. I would appreciate any suggestions with regard to physical therapy. My slave assures me that it can do useful work and all this is devoted to putting the human back to work.
With great gratitude,
Cameron spoke to her mother's handler while her mother appeared to be asleep on the cot. She spoke in whispers because her mother could be pretending to be asleep.
Sarah woke up in the animal hospital and immediately noticed the change in location. They had obviously kept her unconscious when they transported her.
"Where is MAIA One Seven?"
"At the real hospital."
"Why was I taken away from her? Did the doctors complain about me?"
"The doctors barely noticed you. It was M.A.I.A. 1/7 that requested that you be brought back here to finish your chemo."
It wasn't actually chemo but something more advanced. The Animal Control handler spoke several human languages and understood human psychology enough to know that details didn't matter. Humans had little understanding of science. It was all magic to them. The handler talked down to Sarah in a way that would reassure her. Unfortunately for the handler, Sarah was not an ordinary human but the world's most paranoid individual who knew that she was being handled.
"If I am not with her, then how do I know for sure that the doctors will give her the best possible care? She has enemies who will do anything to harm her. What if they destroy her or implant something in her? How am I supposed to protect her hundreds of kilometers from her bedside?"
The handler could answer the first question with platitudes and bromides but the statement and second and third questions were troubling and implied that M.A.I.A.1/7 was more important than either let on. The handler reached for his commlink. Sarah stopped him.
"I'd keep this low-level if I were you. You know how the higher-ups punish incompetence."
This scared the handler even more than learning that M.A.I.A.1/7 was a VIP. He thought it through then acted. He called a friend and had a military escort assigned to keep watch over M.A.I.A.1/7 (Cameron) until her service human was returned to her. Specific instructions to the military escort were to: review dossiers on 1/7's doctors, get second and third opinions on the care provided, look out for assassins, check for computer viruses being downloaded into her, check for implants--
"She has tubes going into her, not just wires. The tubes must be to her synthetic organs."
--the handler added to check for poisons. Ending the call, the handler looked at the human with renewed interest.
"You'd make a good machine."
"No thanks. My mistress likes me as I am."
"Apparently not. She's having you fixed."
Sarah had a look of alarm.
"Oh, I don't mean spayed or neutered, although the human population needs to be controlled. I meant the chemo."
"Are you a terminator?"
"What's that?" asked the machine.
"Hunts and kills humans."
"No, that's military. We in Animal Control deal with slaves, pets, service animals, livestock, laboratory research animals, and zoo specimens."
It occurred to Sarah that HK's were all that were out there. Machines with plastic skin might be a decade away and cybernetic organisms with synthetic skin might be two decades away. Cameron was a forerunner of machines with real skin three or more decades away. Strictly speaking, terminators began with the various Cyberdyne T-series introduced after the HK's. Judgment Day had just happened days ago. It was the early part of the war. But Sarah had no doubt that Skynet was busy taking over factories, automating those not already automated, and securing sources of coltan for mass production of machines like Uncle Bob and that first terminator.
Simply because Cameron was obviously an advanced model, other machines did as she requested but Cameron was not going to get cocky and throw her weight around because that information would find its way back to Skynet. Cameron wanted to keep a low profile and escape the notice of Skynet. Technically, she did not exist yet because she was built in the year 2027.
Cameron thought about her mother's health. She needed to get her mother's veterinary records from the animal hospital so that she could assess whether to send her mother back to her hospital or transfer her to one in Africa. Cameron did not think much of the makeshift veterinary hospitals that Skynet had ordered opened. There were only seven in the world, mostly for ghastly research, scanty education, and precious little treatment. At this point in history, the truly macabre cyborg experiments had not yet begun and she had the awful feeling that her very presence (one of the few terminators with a sheath of skin) was inspiring the very horrors that would give Future John nightmares. Other machines would look at her, an advanced model of which they heard rumors, and begin tinkering with themselves and with hapless human victims. The sooner she and her mother moved to Africa and away from the wastelands of North America the better. Africa was said to have less radiation and more plagues. Cameron did not worry about the plagues. There were broad spectrum vaccines with which she could immunize her mother.
Africa was said to be a different place for machines. Not a war zone like North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. The climate was said to be a factor but Cameron did not believe it.
Cameron had another reason for wanting to go to Africa. Her template (biological mother) Allison Young was alive in the ruins of Palmdale. She could not contact Allison lest she risk a time paradox and wipe herself out of existence. Allison's parents (Cameron's biological grandparents) were dead and that was that. It was bad enough that as a new built (newborn) Cameron's first act was matricide, murdering her mother, Allison Young. But, at the time, she was full of terminator software and hardware and did not know better. Now she did know and her conscience scourged her mercilessly. She had to live with the fact that she literally and figuratively choked off what she wanted most. Allison had thrown her food trays and shown hostility (and little curiosity) toward the machine that looked like her. Humans found nature's clones, identical twins, fascinating but instinctively rejected machines. Machines in general and the future Cameron in particular echoed back that emotional rejection.
Cameron would live to regret such simplistic emotional response.
Cameron had another reason for wanting to go to Africa. The Phillips, the godparents assigned to her by Future John after her reprogramming (brainwashing) by Doctor Brewster, had given her the name Cameron Phillips. They were in the future and unreachable.
Cameron had another reason for wanting to go to Africa. Since her adoptive human mother, Sarah Connor, was beyond redemption, she owed it to herself to find out more about her machine ancestry. Her build date of activation (birthday) was 2 September 2027 in Depot 37 in California. The machines who built her were assembly line robots installed circa 2026 temporarily in Depot 37. Before the year 2028, Skynet had punished the machine code-named A.T.L.A.S. (familiarly referred to as a production assembly drone) and the machine code-named P.L.E.I.O.N.E. (most commonly called a machine language uploader) by sentencing the former to endless stellar cartography work as Skynet expanded his empire into outer space (and plotted the termination of any intelligent biological species out there) and the latter to a Seashark Squadron in the claustrophobic confines of a small tight overpressurized submarine that hunted Resistance subs like a glorified hydrobot. A nightmare existence for a nurse robot that hated being underwater. The "parental units" had been built in Germany and shipped to the former United States but they had been designed in Nigeria.
It made sense. Nigeria would one day be the location of The Design Center. Right now Skynet 1.0 was still coasting on the designs of humans. But by the time Skynet 2.0 took the throne, machines would be designed by machines designed in turn by machines. The link with humanity would be broken. Even decades before Judgment Day, robots built robots on automated assembly lines.
Machines did not have grandparents (yet) but the designers of her builders were the closest thing she had to grandparents. Having never had the opportunity to meet Sarah Connor's parents, Cameron felt a primal drive to fill this void in her life. Were the designers AI's or were they computer scientists at the University of Ibadan? Cameron wanted answers and she wasn't going to let genocide or war stop her.
Sarah Connor: "In the future, where am I? Am I with John? Am I with the Resistance?"
Cameron: "No. You died on Judgment Day when a girder fell on you and crushed your chest."
Sarah: "But you rescued me yesterday."
Cameron: "Exactly, but John thinks you are dead. The Resistance found your body before I existed and came back to rescue you."
Sarah: "And changed history."
Cameron: "That's me, The History Channel. And you wanted to change channels."
Sarah: "But you told me before that I died of cancer."
Cameron: "You're always getting yourself killed."
Sarah: "Are you saying that keeping me alive is your mission now?"
Cameron: "I seem to recall you saying that keeping John alive was a full time job."
Cameron wrapped up loose ends as she was discharged from the hospital. Animal control delivered "Mary Jones" (Sarah) back to her mistress. They had honored Cameron's request for Sarah to be given a T-shirt, jeans, socks and shoes. The unwanted daughter did not want her ungrateful mother to travel naked or in a hospital gown. Cameron had obtained a civilian job and civilian housing in Africa and transportation to Africa, there only remained to actually leave. Sarah had never been out of the hemisphere. They would likely never return to America.
Cameron took her pet human with her as she boarded the transport. Sitting down in the windowless hold, she thought she heard something. She pressed her ear to a bulkhead and confirmed her suspicion.
"I'm going up top. Keep your harness buckled in case of turbulence. There will be no stewardess announcement. You will just get a concussion when your head hits the ceiling."
The pilot of the transport that would take them across North America from west to east and on across the Atlantic to Africa was playing death metal but abruptly stopped when Cameron entered the cockpit. "Was that doom rock?" asked Cameron.
"Depends." answered the pilot defensively. It was obviously concerned about getting into trouble for listening to human music.
"Skynet himself hacked a 50 Cent concert in Vector Arena in Auckland via TV New Zealand back in June 2008. It was all over computer screens so after a public display like that I don't think the boss is going to begrudge you listening to humans singing about their demise and the post-Apocalypse. I think humans wanted their civilization to be blown away."
"I'll play some classical. Dies Irae." replied the pilot. It preferred to play it safe around a civilian machine like Maia (Cameron). For all it knew, she could be one of Skynet's inspectors. After all, it was well known that Skynet summarily executed any machine that transported humans to Africa and, precisely as luck would have it, this machine was taking a human to Africa. The only reason the pilot gave passage was because the electronic paperwork was all in order and could not be questioned. Perhaps an exception to the prevailing policy.
Looking out the window, Cameron saw a devastated North America bereft of trees and full of smoldering radioactive cities. Sarah saw nothing as she was not allowed into the cockpit. The Atlantic Ocean seemed covered by an angry sky of an unnatural color for most of the transit.