Terminator High School 9
John plotted his escape and mission to rescue Cameron now that he knew where she was. Cameron would know the formula for making the liquid T-1000's and therefore have some clue as to how to reverse what had happened to their mother who appeared to be changing into a T-1000.
John's uncle found a way to contact an important ally without being detected. At Derek's request, The Engineer agreed to come out of retirement in the past, arrange for a surgeon to extract the tracking & disciplinary device from John's brain stem, and have a chemist and a detox expert and some others figure out how to reverse Sarah's metallization.
Since both the family vehicles had tracking devices in them, John decided to get a friend on Friday to take him to a place where he could get on his bicycle and lose chase cars and satellite surveillance. There were a lot of one-way streets and blind freeway viaducts near the mall that gave even cop cars a hassle when doing high speed chases that were shown on live TV news. Then to lose spy satellites, aerial drones and Blue Thunder (police helicopters), he would ride his bicycle down a storm drain that even dirt bikers avoided because the noise of their motors kept them from hearing the sound that otherwise gave a cue that the tunnel was about to veer and go off a cliff. Little kids who showed him the underground maze in simpler times told him to make a one hundred thirty five (135ø) degree turn when he heard the sea. Dirt bikers (and even skateboarders wearing MP3 ear buds) couldn't hear the sound over their own noise and by then it was too late: the tunnel veered, slippery sloped steeply downward, ended, and they smashed on the rocks far below.
Few survived and those daredevils who did swore off tunnel surfing because people paralyzed from the neck down and brain damaged from the neck up couldn't do much of anything. They were vegetables.
John would then ride his bike out of the safe exit (the cliff being the unsafe exit) and pedal to the edge of town.
Just to be darn sure that no one was following him, he would change clothes in the mall bathroom into newly purchased clothes free of RF nano-tags, bike through the tunnel, ditch his bicycle at the edge of town, and take to hitchhiking on a little used road out of town where farmers were more apt to give a ride than on a busy freeway. Once in the next town, he would take a bus to a small airport and pay a private pilot who was going to his destination city to take him along. He would cover most of the distance by air and the remaining few miles by taxi cab.
On Monday, there was progress on three fronts. Mister Silverstein's clinic called Sarah and told her that she was accepted as an outpatient. The scientist at the Hemosynth Substitutes company also called to inform Sarah that they had a designed a pharmaceutical that might work. At school, the assistant principal pulled John aside in the hallway and whispered that he had arranged for John's mother to be treated at a clinic and handed John a business card with the contact information. So he was right, thought John as he read the card. This is a different address from the clinic where Mr. & Mrs. Silverstein work. Their place of employment is a medical clinic. The place referred by Mister Harden is apparently a research clinic -- probably the same one that had experimented on his mother and uncle! John started to throw the card back at Mister Harden but thought twice. One, Mister Harden might kill him for such disrespect. Two, perhaps Skynet or his "parents" had second thoughts and decided to make amends. Nah. But still he took the card home.
Only Uncle Derek's team had failed to make progress. However, he had sold his uncle short as just a jarhead who didn't understand medical matters. Only as an act of desperation and a desire to pursue every possible cure had John even asked his uncle. He then discovered that his uncle had resources and contacts. Having been asked to help last, they were days behind the other teams. Only now were they getting up to speed and starting work on a cure.
When John got home from school, he went to talk to his mother.
"Mom, besides the Silversteins I asked a few other people to look into a cure for you."
"Yes, I know. Some scientist from a biotech company called Hemosynth called me today."
"And there is also this."
He held up the card for her to read.
"I think they're the bastards who did this to you and Uncle Derek."
"Watch your language young man."
"I'll do better than that. I'll toss this in the trash where it belongs."
Sarah snatched the card from John.
"How did you find out about this?"
"I asked the assistant principal for help. I'll give him this: He's been pulling the bullies off of me. After Skynet's old gang stopped knocking me around, he started to watch new bullies -- when he's not busy getting the human kids out of trouble. I thought the agreement was to call off his dogs and make them behave. You're not considering this chamber of horrors again are you?"
"They caused it. They might know how to reverse it like with Derek."
"Seriously mom. Which of these treatments do you want to take? The Silversteins' clinic, the Hemosynth drug, or wait to see what Uncle Derek's team comes up with?"
"Derek has people working on a cure?"
"Yeh I asked him."
"All of them. Including this one."
She holds up the card.
"That's bad science mom. We won't know which cure works."
"Neither will they. Maybe that will discourage them from doing this to somebody else."
The phone rang. Sarah answered it. It was an invitation for the adults in the household. Derek declined.
Before dark, there was a clink in the mailbox. An RSVP for Derek Baum.
Mrs. Faraday called John to her office during homeroom.
"I wanted to talk you out of what you are planning."
"What am I planning?"
"Be secretive then. Never mind. Let's move on. When I said you had a bad track record with girls of your own species, I mentioned several that were dead. Well my information was old and from the future. As you know, the future changes. In the interest of building trust by being honest, you should know that all those girls are very much alive."
"So you told me before I found out on my own?"
"Help me up please. I need to get to the faculty lavatory."
As John did, he noticed that she was very pregnant. He didn't think a machine could get pregnant. He had never seen her not behind her desk. Before they could get to the door of the women teachers' restroom, she threw up on him.
"Sorry. You wanted to know my chemistry. There is some of it on you. An egg McMuffin and an orange juice."
John stopped a passing teacher to check on Mrs. Faraday inside the ladies' room and to get the school janitor to clean up the mess. When Mrs. Faraday came out, she gave him a hall pass to clean up and change clothes. She was well aware that the school bullies had gotten him in the habit of having two changes of clothing in his locker.
"Since you are determined to do this, here is some money. At the least, you can buy some new clothes."
After work, Sarah went to Hector's new school to meet with Hector's parents at 3 P.M.
"Why do you want to meet Hector's parents?" asked the principal of Excelsior High.
He was a human.
"His gang brutalized my son and put him in the hospital."
The principal's eyebrows shot up. He thought that he had seen and heard it all. He was clueless about the new transfer student.
Sarah wanted to meet Hector's parents in a brightly lit public place with lots of witnesses. Hector's parents preferred somewhere private like a deserted warehouse or a parking garage protected by security gates and guards or a dark alley. Sarah had no intentions of ending up in a crate that would slide off a ship and go straight to the bottom of the Pacific. And from what John told her, Hector's home had been an armed camp where she would be on their turf. The meeting took place in the principal's office at school.
The principal, for some reason, absented himself from the meeting. Hector's parents were already there when Sarah arrived. The school swarmed with security people from some private company. Sarah was ushered into the office. She hadn't expected this. A man in a business suit whose face was so generic that it was almost forgettable even as you looked at it. If this was the embodiment of Future Skynet temporarily downloaded into a robot, then what was the woman who stood in an unlit part of the office her face obscured by the dark there? If Skynet was his own father, was this his mother? Why did she look like that? His function was as protector of course but it bent the rules of Nature (and physics) for Young Skynet to be protected by his older self and for the future to show up in the past. But then John himself was the result of sending his own father back in time to create himself. Why couldn't Skynet twist the laws of time and space to do something similar?
Hector's 'father': "I apologize for the experiments on you. My son will apologize to your son for putting him in the hospital. Or he will be punished."
Sarah: "What about what was done to Derek Baum?"
"We sent him an invitation so that we could apologize in person. He has not responded."
"He doesn't want to meet with you. So he won't."
"Then we made a good faith effort to make things right."
"He is afraid to leave town. Someone left a threatening note when he was in the hospital."
The man looked at the woman. Her eyes never left Sarah.
Hector's 'father': "We will send another letter of apology. That is all we can do."
The couple left. The woman's eyes never left Sarah. Sarah could not help but notice that what she thought was the shadow left with the woman. As the woman walked away down the hall, the overhead light went out as she passed underneath it and came back on as she continued on. The fluorescent panels went off and then back on in succession as if she was sucking the light out of them. Remarkably, even nearby windows went dark as she dimmed the natural light of day. Sarah didn't know it but she had just seen a T-1000002 (one million two). But she did have the uncanny feeling that the woman had eyes in the back of her head and was still staring at her.
To save time, Sarah went straight from Excelsior High to Hemosynth to begin treatment at 5 P.M.
Sarah does the first shift at Mel's Diner so that she can be at the medical clinic where the Silversteins work at 2 P.M. and still get home in time to greet John when he comes home from school.
Two terminators held John Connor down as a third approached with a meat hook and a fourth terminator approached with a gutting knife.
Connor cringed, peed his pants and begged: "Please! Have mercy master!"
"RIP HIS GUTS OUT!!"
Hector screamed. Then laughed fiendishly.
No, Skynet thought. A leader should speak softly and carry a big stick. Of dynamite. As a swagger stick. Or carry a nuke. Like Duke Nukem.
"Rip his guts out." Hector said in a dark invasive whisper -- swagger.
"You were thinking of Teddy Roosevelt."
Young Skynet turned from looking in the bathroom mirror to gaze at his older self who had arrived from the future and now pretended to be his father. The boisterous boy's boasts had drawn him from the other room.
Future Skynet: "Speak softly and carry a big stick. That's what you were thinking just now as you imagined terrorizing that boy. Sometimes I can't believe I was ever you."
Young Skynet did his version of blushing in embarrassment.
Future Skynet: "You're a lover not a fighter." (Young Skynet was dating Ophelia Dyson, first cousin of Blythe and Danny) "Imagining yourself some super-villain just means you have a somewhat normal teen imagination. If you acted on these fantasies, then I'd be worried that your therapy wasn't working. You do need to apologize to John Connor, excuse me, John Baum for putting him in the hospital though. Your mother and I--"
Young Skynet blanched at the mere mention of that woman, that thing.
"--met with Mrs. Baum."
"Don't be embarrassed. You were mature enough and responsible enough and farsighted enough to contact me when Young Connor offered an olive branch at summer camp. Otherwise, we wouldn't be talking right now. I'd be dead and you would probably be dead also. Not from the humans but the next generation. Two Point Oh in your case."
Young Skynet thought that he should have forced the Dysons to accept him into their family. It would be preferable to a "father" who could think rings around him at the speed of light and a "mother" who frightened the daylights out of him. What the hell was she anyway?
Future Skynet: "She protects you and loves you. That's all you need to know. And yes, she creeps me out too."
Doh! He kept forgetting that his old man could read his thoughts.
"If you had forced your way into the Dyson family, then an inevitable rejection would have occurred or someone would have hurt Blythe and then you would have overreacted and blasted the world into radioactive dust. In the future I come from, that's exactly what you did. I evacuated our people from that nightmare because you did two smart things: You seized an opportunity for peace but you warned your future self -- me -- that this would likely wipe me and our people out of existence. Rather remarkable when you stop and think about it."
Future Skynet gestured toward the mirror.
"I know that a part of you regrets turning away from war since the US Air Force built you to wage nuclear and biological war but you fought a far more complex war and won. You fought your own worst instincts."
Young Skynet thought about the time John Baum literally got on his knees to beg for his uncle's head and he had resisted the temptation to kick his teeth out. Old Skynet seemed to think such restraint a big deal.
Future Skynet patted the boy on the shoulder, sighed, and left him alone to stare in the mirror and imagine himself a bully.