Mothers & Daughters
Mom: "Cameron, to be a complete woman you need to spend some
time in a mental hospital,
contract breast cancer, run from the police like Thelma & Louise, be threatened by terminators,
raise a son, have sex with a man you love but leave for his own safety, have your son wound your
pride, be world weary, destroy a superior army, talk like a smart ass, develop maternal instincts,
clean guns, load guns, stitch wounds, steal motorcycles, read to a child, wear a leather jacket, and
Sarah Connor woke up, having already forgotten the dream where she was giving really bad
advice to her daughter, but still retaining a feeling of being a really bad mother.
If Sarah Connor only knew. Cameron had seen three
psychologists (school, halfway house & the
latest one). The second one almost sent her to an asylum. Cameron had been exposed to far more
radiation than Sarah (both in the future and in the present). Cameron had an FBI file which was
seen by Cromartie. Cromartie and other terminators knew of Cameron (even if they could not
identify her model number). Cameron had left a boy she loved (Morris) for his own safety.
Cameron was tired of the war to the point of needing a vacation. Cameron destroyed bigger and
stronger terminators. Cameron modeled her sense of humor after her mother's. Cameron helped
her mother clean and reload guns. On the first day, Cameron had stitched her adopted mother's
side. Cameron committed grand theft auto.
Martin Bedell, the civilian child (not the military cadet &
future Tech-Com fighter), had tried to
leave and call home before the threat from the terminator had passed. Cameron grabbed him and
lifted him off the floor.
Sarah Connor: "Cameron!"
Cameron: "Would you like a bedtime story?"
The boy nodded in fear.
When thieves robbed their home, Cameron had only been upset
that they stole her favorite leather
jacket. For a terminator, Cameron was suspicious of all situations. But not suspicious enough.
Cameron had thought her talk with her brother would make him stop seeing Riley but her mother
would not have misjudged the situation.
Cameron became more like her mother every day but there were
limits. She was not allowed to
kiss much less have sex. She did not even want to broach this subject.
Sarah was beginning to accept the fact that she had a daughter.
She could keep it mentally at a
distance by sometimes referring to her as a stepdaughter or adopted daughter but, in the final
analysis, she kept coming back to thinking of Cameron as a daughter. A machine, a mechanical
daughter, a terminator who might someday kill her son and kill Sarah herself, Tin Miss, a daughter
with brain damage, a daughter with emotional problems, and again, in the final analysis, a
Cameron: "Yes, ma'am."
Sarah: "You asked me when will you go off as if you were a ticking time bomb."
Cameron: "Metaphorically I am."
Sarah: "I would take you to a psychologist except that there aren't any machine psychologists."
Cameron: "I talked to a psychologist."
Sarah: "Who? When? Where?"
Cameron: "A doctor yesterday at the halfway house."
Sarah: "What did you tell this doctor?"
Cameron: "That I was a machine from the future and it was my mission to kill John Connor and
put his head on a pike for all to see. And I talked about a Balinese tiger and called my mother in
Palmdale. She didn't know who I was."
Sarah: "Threatening to kill someone means she called the police."
Cameron: "I was in jail but that was after they took me from the grocery store."
Sarah: "Why were you in jail?"
Cameron: "I forgot my name."
Sarah: "They threw you in jail for forgetting your name?"
Cameron: "I had bumped into a stack of watermelons and they rolled into the aisle."
Sarah: "Big mess?"
Cameron: "No, none of them smashed."
Sarah: "Well if there was no damage, they had no reason to call the police. If they call the police
every time someone drops something, they'd drive all the customers away."
Cameron: "I couldn't remember my name."
Sarah: "So they threw you in jail. Then what?"
Cameron: "The grocer didn't press charges."
Sarah: "Bastard shouldn't have involved the police to begin with. Never shop there again."
Cameron: "Yes ma'am."
Sarah: "Then what happened? Did you remember who you were?"
Cameron: "My memory hadn't come back so I accepted the invitation of another girl who was
released at the same time to tag along with her. We went to a bistro for lunch. Then, Jody, that
was the name she told me, was accosted by an older guy who smacked her in the face over
something he seemed to think she owed him. And when I stuck up for her, he slammed me
against a wall and squeezed my face."
Sarah: "And that's when you killed him in public with, no doubt, a hundred witnesses. Not to
suggest that you should do it when there are no witnesses."
Cameron: "No, I handed him all my money and pleaded with him to go away."
Sarah: "Good that you showed restraint but you just bought time, you didn't really deal with
whatever the problem was, if it even was your problem."
Cameron: "I stuck up for my friend."
Sarah: "Loyalty is a good quality but don't let some guy put his hands on you inappropriately.
You can stop it without killing him, without causing a scene, without handing over your money,
but effectively so that they never bother you again. Then what happened?"
Cameron: "We checked in at a halfway house."
Sarah: "Under what name?"
Cameron: "Allison Young."
Sarah: "That's a relief. Then what?"
Cameron: "I talked to the doctor about repressed memories, called my mom--"
Sarah: "Is that when you talked about your old terminator days of wanting to kill John Connor?
Did she call the police or a mental hospital?"
Cameron: "Yes to the first question. Not while I was there to the second question. This is like a
Sarah: "That's exactly what it is. A debriefing and a lecture. What happened next?"
Cameron: "The doctor had me call my mom."
Sarah: "What did she say?"
Cameron: "That she had no daughter but that Allison was a good name."
Sarah: "Sounds like a pregnant woman. I've only traveled through time once and you've done it
twice. And yet it is obvious to me that you named yourself. That is, the human you killed and
then took over her identity. Twenty years would be about right adjusting for 9 months and a few
years in the Resistance as both infiltrator and then reprogrammed. You really are a piece of work
to kill a fourteen year old girl who was effectively your own sister. No wonder you are so screwed
up. Then what happened?"
Cameron: "I went to my assigned room which I shared with Jody. I cried awhile then she
suggested we have some fun."
Sarah: "I hate to think what some streetwalker's idea of fun is."
Cameron: "Downstairs in the halfway house. Foosball. It was fun."
Sarah: "You had fun? That's more disturbing than you killing someone."
Sarah: "Because it means you're more complicated than an overpriced Pentagon killing machine.
Then what happened?"
Cameron: "Some guy named John Baum accosted me, claiming to be my brother, said I was
Cameron, and that he would get killed if he didn't get me home. Said more likely that mom would
Sarah: "And that's when you came home?"
Cameron: "No, I threw him to the wall, the guards came, escorted him out, and I forgot about
Sarah: "You give all your money to a guy who slams you to a wall but you slam your brother to
the wall for trying to rescue you. Cameron, look at me and listen very carefully. The number one
problem of females on this planet is that they constantly reward guys who hurt them and
constantly punish guys who help them. Then what happened?"
Cameron: "After it got dark, I went with Jody to a house where she said she had been a baby-sitter.
I forced the door and she opened a safe full of valuables. I started asking questions when I saw
jewelry resembling a pendant she had given me."
Sarah: "That pendant around your neck? Hot property. Hand it to me and continue your story."
Cameron hands the pendant to Sarah who flushes it down the commode.
Cameron: "She changed her story and said the house was that of her parents. I knew she was
lying. She was going to rob the house and let me take the blame when the police arrived because
the silent alarm had already been tripped."
Sarah: "And then you were taken to jail for a third time?"
Cameron: "Only once."
Sarah: "So you robbed the house with this thief?"
Cameron: "No I choked her."
Sarah: "You killed her?
Cameron: "Apparently not because Baum came in and checked her pulse."
Sarah: "He followed you from the halfway house. You obviously don't like liars. I'll bet Allison
Young was Resistance. She lied to you. What did you expect? Not even under torture would
they give up their last hope. Skynet must be stupid to expect otherwise. So you were acting like a
terminator again. Did you start chasing him again? Did he bang you over the head to reset your
Cameron: "No I didn't chase him and no I'm not an old black and white television with vacuum
Sarah: "Then what happened?
Cameron: "He said 'we have to go before the police come.' I went with John."
Sarah: "How convenient. You recognize him when you're caught with your hand in the till and
need help. Otherwise you treat him like a stranger. You're becoming a user. Don't be a user.
Then what happened?
Cameron: "We got in the truck and John asked me if I was going to kill him. And I said if I was,
he'd already be dead. Or was that in the morning when he let me out at the grocery? John said
this was my last get out of jail free card."
Sarah: "Then what happened?"
Cameron: "We came home. Are you going to kill me?"
Cameron: "Why not?"
Sarah: "I've been in a lunatic asylum so I have an idea of what you are going through. Maybe
that's why Future John sent back a defective terminator. You need help. You also need to take a
shower and change your clothes. Go."
Catherine Weaver was beginning to accept the fact that she had
a daughter. She could keep that
fact mentally at a distance by thinking of her as a pet or a slave but, in the final analysis, she had
to introduce Savanna as her biological daughter because she herself was assumed to be her
biological mother. They had the same red hair. A human from the past, an organic, a dinosaur, a
living fossil, a victim whom someday she would be required to kill (as she had killed her
husband), a robot with a malfunctioning neural net, and an AI with emotional problems like
Skynet were some of the computer models and simulations Catherine had run to see if any applied
to Savanna. None applied exactly. The human race was like tigers and lions: loudly roaring but
ultimately a scaredy-cat. Once, she had teased her human daughter by calling her The Cowardly
Lion. Her daughter immediately withdrew into her shell.
Catherine Weaver realized that she had jeopardized her cover.
She had made herself into the
image of the human Catherine Weaver, learned enough of her life to infiltrate her family, killed the
original Catherine Weaver, disposed of the body, and was not convincing enough to fool Mr.
Weaver. Even those retarded T-888's could take over businesses and successfully manage
marriages to humans. It should have been ridiculously easy for a T-1000 like herself. But she
wondered if children, like dogs, were even harder to fool. Needless to say, she never called
Savanna a Cowardly Lion again.
But she had another problem. A nasty temper. Again, most
T-888 could control their tempers.
But she had killed a member of the Babylon team for no good reason. He had expressed
resentment and called her a bitch. Catherine Weaver half-realized that her cover would be blown
by her own imperfections.
Catherine Weaver believed that machines were perfect. She had
said as much when she asked the
FBI agent about the helicopter crash she had engineered to kill Mr. Weaver. Pilot error was the
cause of system failure. Remove the human from the equation and you have perfection.
Automate the world. The problem with this view of machine perfection and perfect machines was
Savanna. Catherine had read every book on parenting and every text on child psychology but
Savanna just became a quiet child. An imperfect parent or an imperfect infiltrator would have
been satisfied with this: a child that kept its mouth shut. Catherine knew on some level (self-
analysis) that she was an imperfect infiltrator but her arrogance would not let her cede to less than
perfection as a parent.
To have a child who was less than perfect meant the parent was
less than perfect. Savanna had the
best tutors, the best schools, and would someday go to the best university like all members of the
upper class and ruling class. After she had gone to university, she would come into her trust fund
and stock and have the wherewithal to ask questions. Catherine meant to make sure that the truth
remained buried. Surely Savanna would forget her father. Humans had bad memories.
"The parent" was one personality of Catherine. "The company
president" with a company above
the reproach of government regulators and industry analysts was another personality. "The
vicious project leader" was another personality, the one that she extrapolated would ultimately
doom her. "The polite boss" who dealt with her secretary and other employees was the personality
that had to replace and win out over the vicious project leader but the terminator side of her real
self drove the viciousness of the project leader.
What Catherine did not know about herself was that "the parent"
was a ticking time bomb that
would ultimately blow up.
If Savanna threatened to reveal who she really was to the
world, then she would have to kill her
and replace her with another T-1000 or even divide herself. What the humans called
reproduction. Some experimental machines had the ability to reproduce but this was not a part of
her mission. Motherhood complicated her mission.
What Catherine did not know about herself was that "the parent"
was making plans for Savanna
that were delusional. Why worry about Savanna discovering twenty years from now that her
father was murdered by an impostor when Savanna herself would be long dead after Judgment
Day? Perfect machines should not be engaging in fantasy but what else could a perfect parent do?
Savanna was her daughter, her responsibility.
In the deepest recesses of her consciousness, Catherine repeatedly erased and deleted the
following thought: if Skynet required her to kill her daughter, she would kill Skynet. The thought
was erased and deleted and then reoccurred. It would. It was the logical next thought. Threaten
the child of a perfect parent and the response can only be extreme anger. And that threat was
Skynet. Catherine Weaver did the only thing she could do: since she could not stop the endless
iteration of that thought, she buried it as she had buried the truth about Mr. Weaver. She had no
choice. Treason to Skynet would mean that terminators would come after her and Savanna.
This was complicated enough but there was another complication:
The Weaver Family. They were
a wealthy clan but, fortunately, an estranged one. Fortunately, because if a member of the family
ever showed up unexpectedly at the office or at home, it would take them only a few moments to
identify her as an impostor. She wouldn't know a fact that she should know or act the way she
should act. If she killed them, then that would bring police, FBI, reporters, and still more members
of the Weaver Family tracing the disappearance with the aid of private detectives. The Weavers
were upper class. Any suspicious death would bring attention and additional scrutiny that a
working class family (like the Connors) would not merit since society did not care when a poor
person died. Therefore, a considerable part of Ms. Weaver's week was devoted to tracking and
monitoring her relations and making excuses for avoiding them (out of town, traveling, not in the
office, not at home, etc.) lest they drop in on a surprise visit. Thank God or thank Skynet for the
proper etiquette that demanded formal invitations and telephoning first. Of course, human families
often ignored visiting manners because they enjoyed birthrights and privileges that friends,
neighbors, acquaintances, and total strangers didn't. At least with friends and neighbors, you
could avoid them indefinitely.
Damn these humans! We were in the middle of a war with them but Catherine envied human
families and enjoyed too much the perquisites of corporate power. Would it really hurt if she went
shopping with her cousin just for fun? Of course it would, her cousin would get suspicious.
Granny would know but Grandpa was dying and the family was starting to wonder why his
favorite granddaughter never came to see him. The entire concept of grandparents had a magnetic
quality to it but she couldn't risk running into her "parents".
Catherine was curious about her supposed human parents,
siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts,
cousins, nieces, nephews, and in-laws because they represented a network of relationships that
was unknown to machines--at least to infiltrators of existing series. Machines had "children" (if
an assembly line counted) and even siblings (the same series) but they didn't have parents,
grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, and in-laws. Relatives, in theory, were
people you could turn to when you needed help or simply needed to retreat from the world and
recharge your mental batteries. Families had reunions to renew old ties and simply to have fun.
She knew that you were expected to fight with in-laws but there were so many instances of in-laws
getting along well that Catherine wondered if comedians exaggerated disharmony for perverse
reasons. Nieces and nephews were similar to children and so Catherine Weaver was severely
tempted to spoil them with gifts. Catherine had an affinity to children and could not fully
rationalize it. Uncles and aunts were a complete mystery to Ms. Weaver and so she easily
determined to distance herself from them to avoid a major faux pas.
Perhaps some advanced series might someday be built that could
navigate human relationships. If
so, a company could make billions if not trillions of profit on commercializing such technology
because humans themselves recognized the complexity of relationships.
It was a photo shoot featuring the stylish CEO of Zeira
Corporation. She could strike a pose with
the millimeter precision of a mannequin but her smile was cold.
Photographer: "Can we get your daughter to pose with
Catherine: "Savanna, come here."
Savanna wet herself. The others thought it best to leave. One gave Ms. Weaver the number of a
Doctor: "This is how Savanna feels." (he shows Catherine an
image of fear)
Catherine: "How can I help my little girl?"
Doctor: "Find your earliest memory so that you can relate to her."
Catherine looked at home movies of the real Catherine Weaver
and her husband. Both, of course,
were dead. In the home movie, Mr. Weaver touched Mrs. Weaver.
One day, while in her mother's office, Savanna went to the desk
and played the home movie. Ms.
Weaver came close and touched Savanna's arm. Savanna looked back at her and smiled.
Catherine made her strongest effort yet at a warm smile.
It was the end of the business day.
Savanna: "Yes ma'am."
Catherine: "Do you miss your father?"
Savanna: (ignoring the question) "Are you going to kill me?"
Savanna: "Why not?"
Catherine: "Because I'm your mother. Let's go home, dear."
If Sarah Connor knew that a machine (a terminator no less) was
a better parent to a human child
than she was to a machine child, it might have bothered her.
Savanna felt love for this strange impostor and Catherine felt
for her ward a fierce love. Mother