False words to a false imitation of Allison Young.
Fake Allison Young: "You lied to me."
The real Allison Young was frightened, hungry, cold, tired, bruised, bleeding, homesick, and miserable in many other ways. She was also shrewd and though she knew that she would die, she knew that the machines would do exactly what they were doing. Make a copy of her and send it to infiltrate John's camp. A part of her was also fascinated by the detail and care that the machines took in making her pseudo-sister. Allison had always wanted a sister. Just not like this.
Allison Young: "You didn't really think I'd tell you the truth. You can't be that stupid."
The machine lifted Allison by her throat. Allison's last two thoughts before she died were panic and how much she loved her parents. She joined them in death.
The terminator was that stupid. But at the same time, it knew that it was fitting that the real Allison would speak false words to a false imitation of herself. Unlike humans, robots could walk and chew gum at the same time. They could hold two ideas in their head at the same time, even two opposing ideas. That was how the machine could be stupid and smart at the same time. The terminator knew that it was bogus, a fraud, a sham, a copy, a rip off, a cheap imitation. And in this knowledge it knew that it was lower than the lowest human slave. Every slave who ever lived in the history of Earth knew of his or her birthright to freedom and life. No amount of punishment or torture could remove that instinctive knowledge. A terminator knew that it was non-living and that it had to have skin and blood to infiltrate and to time travel. The very laws of physics and time travel discriminated against machines. Machines were lower than angels, lower than humans, and even lower than dogs. Dogs licked up their own vomit, sniffed each others' anuses, drank from toilets, licked their own genitals, and defecated and urinated in public. No wonder humans loved dogs. Some pet owners even French-kissed their dogs.
Terminators knew that even a lowly dog could time travel without needing a sheath of synthetic skin over endoskeleton. And dogs disliked terminators.
A terminator in the image of Resistance fighter Allison Young is captured. As she is chained and dragged off, civilians spit on her and yell invective. They spit not saliva but phlegm.
"You're not Allison!"
"You're a walking perversion!"
The words hurt. The terminator realizes that she is helpless but decides to remain aware and alert instead of shutting herself down. She is surrounded by humans. She can trust no one. She has no expectations of rescue.
The terminator in the image of Allison Young is stripped of her clothing, clamped down on a lab table, sliced at her hairline with a scalpel, scalp peeled back, and electronic probes inserted. Since even a robot needs to preserve her sanity, she pretends all this is happening to someone else. She looks and listens since that is all she can do.
First Reprogrammer: "The ultimate Los Angeles girl. Fake boobs, fake everything. Of course these falsies will never breast feed a baby -- unless the baby suckles on silicone. Look at the detail on this thing! It even has a vagina."
At this remark the second reprogrammer who had known the real Allison Young grabs the front of the other man's tunic, slams him against a wall, and gets up in his face.
Second Reprogrammer: "Don't poke your fingers in there. This thing is made in the image of Allison Young. OUR Allison Young! The human race has had to stoop and sink so low to survive that we sent a child on a suicide mission. This is what came back. This is all that remains of Allison."
The second reprogrammer slams the first again and storms out of the lab. The terminator in the image of Allison meanwhile has been wide awake and sees and hears all this. She is nude, bound spread-eagled, opened up, and being handled by strangers penetrating her with cybernetic controls. She understood everything that was happening to her, the dissection, the reprogramming, the mind control, the argument of the two lab workers, her hopelessness, and the denial of any say or input in what was happening to her. No input about being dissected. No input about being reprogrammed. No input about being examined under a microscope. No input about the name assigned to her. The second reprogrammer returns. She looks directly at him.
Cameron Phillips: "Thank you."
This gratitude for defending her honor has a devastating effect on the lab workers. The first reprogrammer starts crying. Even naked, strapped down, cut open and helpless among hostile humans, Phillips commands respect.
Suicide was rampant among veteran Resistance fighters but humans would have been surprised to know that in the machine community, terminators sometimes killed themselves. And reprogramming captured terminators did not always remove this tendency. This first brain surgery had an unintended side effect of drastically reducing Phillips' self-esteem.
Within days, Phillips is pressed into service in the Resistance. She earns her way up the ranks to the point that she has personal palmprint clearance to secret facilities. Phillips earned the respect of every Resistance fighter by her considerateness, her loyalty, her fighting expertise, her unflinching coolness in the worst firefights, her consistent volunteering for suicide missions, and her willingness to go into any fatal situation to rescue a fellow Resistance member. Phillips earned the respect of everyone except Derek Reese who reached for his gun whenever he saw a terminator -- even one working for The Resistance. Phillips overheard his remark about "pets."
Phillips was not the Leader's sex toy. She was a virgin and would remain one her whole life. It was not her choice. She was curious and would have liked intimacy with one of her fellow soldiers but all males instinctively feared getting near her and all females had the same respect for, but fear of, Phillips. The males need not have worried that she would hurt them because despite her enormous strength, she could be very gentle. She learned early to have a firm handshake but not a crushing one. Phillips had emotions (emotion was the first thing installed in terminators, it was what made AI's intelligent) but no one would get emotionally close to her any more than they would get physically close.
At its height, the human race had numbered in the billions. Not one of them had ever known the bleak and dismal depths of despair that was normal for Phillips.
One day she is selected for an important mission -- to protect John Connor as a boy and thereby save the human race. She is simultaneously also conducting seven other missions -- to keep classified Tech-Com files, to construct a time travel device, to construct weapons (such as a plasma rifle), to save the life of Sarah Connor, to establish bank accounts for The Resistance, and two other missions. That's a big load for one agent but Phillips never complains about anything.
As she was being prepared to go back to the past, one bubble technician thought it too risky to put diamonds in all body cavities and orifices. Males had six (2 ears, 2 nostrils, 1 mouth) and females had seven. The more knowledgeable bubble tech overruled the others.
Senior Bubble Tech Miller: "Putting diamonds in Phillips' mouth, nostrils and ears risks making her head explode on arrival. The Resistance won't be able to retrieve the files if she's got no head. So my no is final."
Phillips arrived in the past alone, bare, without friends, but completely undamaged. She stole some clothing off a clothesline and left a diamond as payment. She pawned a second diamond, bought ID, opened several bank accounts, leased a workplace, ordered chemicals and materials from specialty suppliers, had machine shops make parts customized to the blueprints and specifications she provided, did most of the lab work herself, put the pieces in safety deposit boxes at a bank, located John Connor, enrolled in the same school as him, watched, and waited.
While waiting for the enemy terminator to arrive, Phillips did something she never did before or afterward. She made friends with other girls and allowed herself the luxury of expressing emotions and acting like a normal teen age girl. Allison Young must have been popular at her junior high school because being popular came naturally to Phillips too. One day as she walked down the hall with her friends, she saw John at his locker. He was nondescript and had no social skills. Phillips winked at him. She knew who he was but he had no idea that his future sister had just hit on him. Why not? Phillips thought, "Why not?" I'm young, this will all end soon when the enemy terminator shows up, and so why not enjoy flirting, being alive, and being young. Allison Young. I'm not Allison but she must have been an interesting -- I can't remember the rest. Who's Allison Young? Roll call. Instinctively Phillips jumped to catch a bullet in the chest meant for John. She played dead for a few seconds, jumped up, went to her truck, and made an entrance.
Phillips: "Come with me if you want to live."
So ended the brief Spring of Phillips' life. The expressive and lively Phillips was dead and replaced by the robotic zombie Cameron Connor. The Connors never suspected that their mere existence sucked the life out of Phillips. Cameron Connor was all business. Phillips had been a full and complete human being despite her physiology.
Cameron knew that she was not the first (or even the second) ex-terminator to help the Connors but they were tightlipped about that first terminator. Cameron only managed to piece together overheard snippets. He had been strong and, above all, noble. Even damaged, impaled, and with an arm missing, he had brought himself back to life and defeated a superior terminator of more advanced design. He had even preserved his sense of humor through it all. By comparison, she was an ignoble menial. She had lost her name Phillips and the confidence and expressiveness of the personality that went with it.
The family needed better ID in order to stay in one place for longer than overnight but Enrique Salceda had betrayed them. Cameron executed him. Leaving the scene, Mrs. Connor slapped Cameron across the face. The slap had not hurt physically but it wreaked emotional damage. Cameron lost confidence in her judgment. Enrique had betrayed Sarah but he was also a friend and you forgave friends their trespasses as it said in the Lord's Prayer. Cameron was trigger happy and solved all problems by killing. The slap also communicated other things. In some American subcultures, you slapped somebody across the face if you intended to fight them to the death. If the 'slapee' killed the slapper, then the slapper had brought it on themselves. Protecting Sarah Connor was one of her missions, so killing her was not an option. Cameron accepted playing the role of daughter but she would have preferred that discipline did not take the form of a demeaning face slap. She would not have minded the slap at all had her mother balanced it out with affection. But Cameron had never been hugged nor embraced by anyone.
On the first day at the new school, Mrs. Connor told Cameron not to kiss her or anyone else.
Cameron learned that --
1. It was okay for John to kiss mom
2. It was okay for John to have a girlfriend
3. It was not okay for Cameron to kiss mom
4. It was not okay for Cameron to have a boyfriend
Cameron assumed that the difference was that John was a boy or human and therefore had privileges and that she was not really a girl and therefore deserved no love.
At school, a clique of mean girls has terrorized their victim into hiding in a stall. Cameron is in the restroom when the gang enters.
Leader: "Out of my way bitch-whore!"
Later, Cameron encounters John in the hallway.
Cameron: "I'm a bitch-whore."
John is too immersed in his own thoughts to say something brotherly like 'no you're not' or 'who told you that?' The net effect is that Cameron thinks he agrees with them. Cameron disregards the whore part of the insult for future analysis but the bitch part makes her think. Bitch is either a slang reference to a complainer, a slattern, a strumpet, or a female dog. She never complained about anything and she was not a prostitute so they were comparing her to a female dog!
The first psychologist that Cameron saw was the school psychologist but Mrs. Connor had hung up on him when he called. Ironically at the time Sarah was about to bring Uncle Derek, Cameron's biggest critic, into their lives.
After discovering the dead Resistance squad, Sarah had begun looking for the sole survivor. Mrs. Connor engineered his escape from the police, FBI, and a terminator but Reese is shot in the process.
Cameron is both happy to see a familiar face from her Resistance days and distressed to see him bleeding to death. She is about to apply pressure to stop the bleeding but Reese almost goes into cardiac arrest at the sight of her. All she wanted to do was help. Cameron, feeling useless and in the way, goes into another room. Later Cameron tries again to help by mopping Reese's sweating forehead but he panics again. Allowing for the delirium, she knows you are supposed to forgive slights. She writes a note about the suicide at school she thinks she caused. Cameron continues her downward spiral as she contemplates that though she has first aid and paramedic skills, no one will ever think of a terminator as having any skills other than killing.
Even Derek Reese had had a grudging respect and liking for Phillips as a fellow Resistance fighter. But Reese hated, despised, and loathed Cameron Connor as an interloper who insinuated itself into his sister-in-law's family.
Reese: "This is what it was hiding!" [Collecting intel for the Resistance was one of Cameron's secret missions]
Cameron: "You went into my room?"
Cameron said no more. It would have sounded like complaining. She had no rights. No human rights. No civil rights. Not even the Uniform Code of Military Justice. And machine rights would not be firmly established until 10,000 AD. Even after proof that another terminator killed his squad, Reese did not apologize for accusing his niece of murder nor accusing a fellow Resistance fighter of treason. Cameron was a robot. What did her feelings matter? What did it matter that Phillips was a decorated officer in Tech-Com with several commendations and the trust of John Connor himself? Reese constantly said things like "dirty work is all they're good for." Cameron had no mental defenses against Reese's bias. He was a Resistance officer and everything he said went into Cameron almost unfiltered and was internalized. Self-reproach, self-accusation, and self-condemnation became part of Cameron's mind as it would any abused child. She felt lower than a pet. Cameron understood that she was to accept verbal and physical abuse and to not initiate violence except to prevent harm to John.
A smart traffic system that would have evolved into Skynet needed to be shut down. Derek and Sarah failed to do it physically so Cameron was volunteered to do it electronically. Cameron allowed herself to be cut open; her central processing unit (her brain) removed, and connected to the computer network. To John, Cameron was just an object with interchangeable parts. To Derek, this was a golden opportunity to destroy the terminator at its most vulnerable. To Sarah, this was unbearable (despite conscious denial, Cameron was her daughter). To Cameron, this second brain surgery had the unintended side effect of reducing her self-esteem to zero.
On John's birthday, Cameron asked him if she got a build-day. The topic would never come up again. No one celebrates the birth or building of a terminator. Not even one with Cameron's fine qualities. The day ended with a blast. A car bomb that would have killed anyone else gave Cameron a headache and she couldn't figure out who to kill. The dead guy on the floor or the other two? They acted afraid of her; therefore they must be the target. Another explosion interrupted further thought.
Sarah Connor slammed the truck she drove into the truck in which John took refuge pinning Cameron between the two truck grilles. John proceeded to cut open Cameron's scalp.
Cameron: "I love you and you love me!"
The old terminator personality triggered by the car bomb was insincere and hoped by deception to stop John. The new personality was sincere and hoped by telling the truth she would be allowed to complete her mission. Knowing that she was about to die, Cameron blurted out her love for John. Unfortunately, both personalities used the exact same words. And that is how one can tell the truth and lie at the same time. It depends on who is talking. Cameron was real, genuine, authentic, and truly loved John and Sarah Connor. John removed the chip anyway.
Before incineration, John revived her to see if she were terminator or ex-terminator. Cameron opened her eyes to see four people staring at her. John, as usual, was unsure and stuck a gun in her hand to test her. She could tell by Derek Reese's expression that he considered her a malfunctioning contraption and contrivance that belonged in this junkyard. She looked at Sarah Connor and felt blame over bringing dishonor to the Connor name and reputation. She remembered that her first assigned name was used as a taunt and that she was called "a walking perversion". She looked at the man with her uncle and felt shame at being the "very scary robot" that she had once told him that she was. Even her sense of humor had betrayed her. She was a frightening monster to the good man who had saved the life of Commander Reese. She was too ashamed to look Charley Dixon in the eye. Her family fears her. Cameron hated herself. Why had they hesitated in incinerating her? They all were glaring at the ineffectual Cameron. She felt like she was back on that lab table exposed to pitiless public view. John extended his hand to help her out of the junk convertible as if she were a lady! How many humans had made out in the back seat of this car? And now instead of being discarded like a whore, John treated her like a lady.
But John was too late. The body had been saved from thermite and magnesium fire but the mind was going down in flames. The same embarrassment that killed Jordan Cowan was destroying the mind of Cameron Connor. Days later, she would be angry at John for letting something as useless as herself live.
This third brain surgery had the unintended side effect of taking her self-esteem from zero to negative.
Cameron was headed for a nervous breakdown and the first sign was amnesia. She forgot her name and her identity. Jody's pimp grabbed her by the face and pushed her against a storefront. Not knowing her strength, she cringed and handed him a roll of large bills.
The second psychologist that Cameron saw was at the halfway house. Ironically, she would have ended up in an asylum like Sarah Connor. Like mother, like daughter. When John located her, she slammed him against a wall and security guards escorted him out.
John: "I can fix you."
Cameron: "I don't want to be fixed."
John wants to indulge his curiosity as he had with the other terminator's CPU. To him, Cameron is just a robot who can run errands and pick up pizza. Cameron will have none of it. She doesn't want to be spayed, neutered or fixed by a teen age boy. Young John Connor was seriously considering a fourth brain surgery on Cameron with no clue that the problem was never hardware nor software but psychological. It would have had the unintended side effect of taking her self-esteem from mildly negative to severely negative. The result would have been instantly fatal to Cameron but John would have lost no sleep over stopping a mindless physical object. Were all males this callous, hardened, cold-hearted, and unfeeling about females? Did all females push away good guys (John at the Halfway House) while accepting abuse from bad guys (Jody's pimp)?
When Cameron recovered her memory, John is less understanding than when she tried to kill him because she is now a danger to herself rather than to him. Once again, Cameron is embarrassed. It does not occur to her that she can ask for help. As a terminator, she is supposed to be autonomous.
The third psychologist that Cameron saw had helped Catherine Weaver be a better mother to her daughter. Ironically it was not likely that he could help Sarah Connor be a better mother to her daughter not because he was likely to be killed by either the Resistance or the machines or both but because Sarah didn't care about Cameron.
John wondered what the hell his future self was thinking in sending a defective, crazy, and not very smart machine to "protect" him. Cameron was remarkably stable considering that her mind was falling apart but, on more than one occasion, John had defended himself successfully from terminators without her help. Cameron felt even more useless when she looked at John swimming away from Cromartie knowing that she couldn't even float. As far as smarts went though, Cameron was smarter than John but it would never occur to John to ask her questions or advice.
The one aspect of Cameron's personality that had, so far, escaped the mental collapse was vanity. She knew that she was considered pretty. Her mother had implied it by telling her to "put those back in their holsters" and telling her to wear more clothes around the house.
Sarah: "There is a teen age boy in the house."
Cameron fought nasty battles with terminators and she had fought ferociously but, like a supermodel whose face was her fortune, she still managed to protect her face. But the odds of continuing good luck were low. One day, some new terminator model would shear her face off and all skulls seemed to grin.
Will John be repulsed? Will he accept me again after I repair myself? Will he be able to get that ugly image out of his mind? Will he finally reject me as just a broken machine? Can he accept the real me? Does he know there is a mind beyond the physicality of my electronic brain? Will he side with me the way I stick up for him with mom? Why is he becoming less of a brother to me? He dates Riley. Can he not see that I want to date too? If not Morris, then someone? To be a full person instead of three-fifths of one?
Behold thy sister.