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Chapter 10 - Dawn
Cameron stood watch as John slept. In one hand she grasped a plasma rifle, in the other the radio detonator. She gazed at the switch, turning it in her hand and contemplating Fred’s death. Now, the machine had some time to reflect on it, and the many other decisions she’d made in the last few hours.
She wiped tears from her eyes and put the detonator away. Approaching John, Cameron thought how one day, she would possibly have to do the same thing as Fred. The possibility of not being able to protect John scared her. She perished the thought.
The machine crouched beside John and looked at him. She studied every line, every mark, every wound. A old scar ran from his eyebrow down his face. Probably a piece of metal that had narrowly missed his eye.
John shifted in his sleep and exposed one of his arms from beneath Cameron’s jacket. She saw the barcode of a Skynet work camp that was burned upon his skin a decade earlier. Bits of the tattoo were missing; ripped off by shrapnel from some an explosion.
The machine reached out and delicately wiped mud from John’s eyebrow. He moved slightly, still asleep. Cameron wanted to let him rest a little longer; no other man deserved it more, but she couldn’t. They needed to be in friendly territory before sunrise.
“John.” she whispered.
John sleepily opened his eyes. “Time to go?”
John rubbed the sleep from his face. “Were you crying?”
“I was thinking about Fred.”
John nodded with a sad face. “Me too.”
He stood up and threw a plasma rifle over his shoulder. “Machines like Fred are the reason I trust terminators.”
The two walked in silence while they were in disputed land. Twinkling stars gave way to an orange light which started fill the sky. They finally entered territory controlled by the resistance. Cameron felt a need to make conversation.
“Why did you name me ‘Cameron’?”
“Remember how I said I spent some time with foster parents?”
The machine nodded.
“When I spent that short time in public school, I didn’t really fit in. I stayed outside the crowds and games at recess. I’d usually just sit back and watch.”
“I’d usually be the only one alone at recess. Then, one day, we got a new student. She didn’t much fit in, either. She was like me, wandering around. Not really making any friends…”
“What was her name?”
“Cameron. Anyway, it was just nice to know that there were people like me. You know? Almost like…” John paused and looked at Cameron. “…kindred spirits.”
The machine thought about what he said. “Did you ever talk to her?”
John shook his head with a smile. “When most boys started talking to girls, I was learning squad tactics and small arms.”
“Your skills have served you well.”
“I guess…So, that’s where the name comes from.”
The machine felt honored to carry the name. “Thank you for explaining.”
John simply smiled. There was a brief silence before he spoke again. “Cameron, regarding Clifton…”
“Did you suspect him earlier?”
“Yes, but I had no proof.”
“I don‘t want you to be afraid to bring anything to my attention. If you suspect someone or something, if you don’t feel good about something, let me know. You can tell me anything.”
Cameron opened her mouth to respond but stopped. She heard footsteps and quiet voices. John saw Cameron turn her head. He whispered.
“You hear something?”
Cameron nodded. “Take cover there.” She replied pointing to some rubble.
John disappeared from sight and armed his rifle. Cameron stayed on the path, waiting for the approaching sound to come to her. Captain Calitri appeared with two of his soldiers. They had their weapons pointed at Cameron. Cameron aimed back at Calitri.
“Are you with Connor?” Calitri called out, keeping his distance.
“Where is he?”
Cameron didn’t answer. John came from beneath his cover.
“I’m here, Calitri. Everybody lower your weapons.”
Calitri breathed a sigh of relief and signaled his soldiers to lower their weapons. He walked over the Cameron and John.
“Sir, you have no idea how glad I am to see you.”
John patted Calitri on the shoulder. “Likewise, Captain. Were there any other survivors?”
“No, sir. Perkins and Johnson are all I have left.” he said motioning to his two soldiers.
“The Grays hit so damn fast. Most of the officers were caught in the war room. They held out for a while but by the time we got there, they were all dead. When we couldn’t find you, we knew you had gotten out.”
Calitri looked at Cameron. “I heard she killed the Major before the attack.”
“Yeah, she did. He was collaborating with the Grays. If it weren’t for her, I’d be dead right now.”
“Clifton? I never would have guessed…” Calitri replied, trailing off.
“Captain, are the Grays in control of the base?”
Calitri shook his head. “I doubt it. They overpowered us but it wouldn’t make any sense to stick around.”
“When we reach Serrano Point, we’ll send some squads and take it back. Don’t you worry, Captain.”
“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.”
The group walked into the morning. When they were about a mile from Serrano Point, they met up with a patrol. The three men were ecstatic to see John. News of the Clifton’s base falling had spread quickly.
The patrol dispatched an armored jeep to bring them the rest of the way. John, Cameron, Calitri and his soldiers entered Serrano Point as heroes. A crowd of two dozen cheering soldiers had assembled outside the base entrance.
As they dismounted the vehicle, the men and women loosely assembled at attention. They saluted John as he approached. John saluted back.
“At ease, ladies and gentlemen.”
“General Connor, welcome back to Serrano Point, sir.” A lieutenant spoke.
“Thank you for the hospitality, Lieutenant.”
Cameron and John entered the base. Calitri stopped John.
“Sir, I’d like to know when we’re taking Clifton’s Outpost back.”
“Probably tonight, Kurt. Get some rest. I’ll make sure you’re there when it happens.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Calitri left and Cameron looked around. Serrano Point was very different from the old base. The halls were wider. It was cleaner and the security was much better. Because of the anti-armor and air defenses, going outside was much less dangerous.
John saw her look around. “What do you think?”
“It’s a big base. It will take some time to memorize it.”
“Then let’s get started.”
John showed Cameron around Serrano Point just as he had with the other base. With more patrols and more guards, John was technically in a safer place but with more people came more possibilities for attack. With soldiers and refugees arriving and leaving the base every day, it would be impossible for her to memorize everyone’s face.
John would introduce Cameron as “This is Cameron, my bodyguard. Yes, she’s a terminator.” It was straightforward but most of the men and women seemed to appreciate it. Here, most people were more accepting of her. Cameron counted at least half a dozen other terminators working in the base.
As they went deeper into the base, the security tightened and patrols increased. Cameron knew the time machine was stored back here. They passed through two heavy blast doors. John pointed out his room before they continued on to the time displacement equipment.
“There she is.” John whispered.
They walked into a dimly lit room. The ceiling was over one hundred feet above them, making every sound echo throughout. At the center of the room was a large platform. Massive electromagnets surrounded a small white space where several people could assemble.
Beside the platform were a dozen computer terminals. Apparently resistance scientists had been studying it.
“We haven’t used it since we took back the base.”
Cameron looked back at John. “You don’t want to endanger the present.”
John nodded in silence.
After the tour ended, Cameron left John to continue exploring the base. John had to confer with the officers of Serrano Point and tell them what happened. When the day was over, Cameron had met every terminator, memorized every escape route and located the base’s five armories.
Cameron headed back to the rear of the base in search of John. She knew he would be tired; he had slept no more than 3 hours last night. She approached his door and knocked.
Cameron opened the door and stepped into the room. John was laying in bed, with his arms behind his head. The only light came from a laptop that sat across his desk.
Cameron took the chair at his desk and sat down.
“I never did thank you.” John said.
“For saving my life… thank you.”
“Your welcome.” she replied with a smile.
“What’s going on?” he asked. He sounded exhausted.
“I was thinking about what you said earlier.”
John closed his eyes and stretched out his feet. “What did I say?”
“About how it’s nice to know that there are people like you.”
Cameron got up and walked over to John’s bed. She sat down before he could say anything. As careful as she was, her 225 lb frame still made the bed creak. John opened his eyes and looked at Cameron.
“You and I are alike.” she said looking at him. John didn’t say anything.
“We’re both warriors. We both fight the same war. We both carry scars…” she said tapping the side of her head with an index finger. John sat up, still looking at her.
Cameron wanted to be closer to him. She shifted even nearer to John and reached a hand towards him. Her fingers touched the ballistic plate covering his chest. Cameron took John’s hand and placed it where her heart would be.
“Metal protects our hearts.”
John swallowed. The machine could tell he was having an internal discussion again. She didn’t want to make him uncomfortable but she had to tell him how she felt.
“You said I could tell you anything.”
Cameron’s true, blue eyes flickered beneath her brown irises.
“I love you.”
John looked paralyzed. He continued to stare at her but he couldn’t find any words to say. After a few moments he opened his mouth.
“Cameron, I- I’m just not sure…” Cameron put a finger over his mouth.
“Just one kiss. If you’re still not sure, I won’t mention it again.”
The two slowly moved closer until their lips met. Cameron felt joy, happiness, strength, togetherness and a hundred more, unique emotions. Before she had a chance to experience them all, the brief contact was over.
John sighed. It was almost like a visible weight was removed from his chest. He smiled and looked at Cameron. She was smiling back.
He opened his mouth and paused. “I love you, too.”
The two embraced and passionately kissed, tumbling onto the bed beneath them. For one moment, they forgot that they were soldiers in a war. There was no suffering, no pain, no hatred or loss; there was only bliss. That night, man joined machine in the most perfect expression of life. That night, they made love.
Latest page update: made by mo-metal
, May 5 2009, 7:43 PM EDT
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