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Chapter 14 - Future's Hope
Cameron stood and watched the hulking aerial come to a stop. The vehicle in front of John’s had taken the brunt of the impact, folding under the hundreds of tons of metal alloys and armor composites. The aircraft flipped on impact and John’ vehicle was hit by the lighter tail section of the craft.
His vehicle was buried in the debris of the aircraft; the machine couldn’t see any exposed parts. Cameron calculated a 8.68% chance of survival for the driver of the armored jeep. John’s was marginally better at 25.32%.
Cameron turned to a Captain and spoke to her. “Don’t let the endoskeletons get in. I’ll be back.”
Before the woman could answer, Cameron took off running. She forced herself to run faster than she had ever ran before. Other men and woman joined her, desperate to pull their leader from the jeep. Cameron felt tears building in her eyes.
“Please, John. Please.”
Cameron was the first to reach the destroyed aircraft. She found the place where John’s jeep was crushed and started to pull debris away. The soldiers finally caught up and started helping her.
Piece by piece, the crushed jeep began to emerge from the wreckage. The front of the vehicle was completely destroyed. Cameron knew the driver would be dead. It’s front end had completely collapsed under the aircraft. The command section, where John sat, fared better.
They finally pulled a piece of armor plating and revealed a window. Cameron tried to pull the door open, but only succeeded in ripping the handle off. The impact had flexed the body panels and wrenched the doors in place. In several strikes, she punched out a bulletproof window and peeked in. John was at the floor of the vehicle. He moved a little.
She tried again to tear the door off. A soldier stopped her.
“Wait!” he said aiming his plasma rifle. He shot out the hinges of the door.
This time the machine was able to pull the door off. She stepped into the vehicle and approached John. She ran her fingers over him, attempting to find any injuries or broken bones. He had several flesh wounds and possibly a concussion, but nothing too severe.
John groaned. “Am I dead?”
“No, John. Not by a long shot.”
He opened his eyes and smiled. “Are you sure? I’m seeing angels…”
Cameron laughed a little through the tears. She had never been more scared in her life. She delicately kissed John, not caring if the soldiers knew. It was only confirming what most of them already suspected. Their moment of peace ended with a chilling radio transmission on Cameron’s headset.
“They have breached the bunker! They are in Serrano Point!”
John shook his head and sat up. “I was on the radio with Perry. They’re setting up defensive points around the two entrances to the TDE.”
Cameron helped him out of the jeep. He had difficulty standing. “I’ll stop them, John. I’ll stop every one.”
“Go ahead, without me. You can lead-”
The machine shook her head. “I’m not leaving you again.”
The two, surrounded by a group of over 30 soldiers, made their way to the base. Cameron bandaged John’s wounds as they walked. He was recovering quickly from the crash. They approached the entrance to the base a few minutes later.
Cameron gave John her plasma rifle and picked up an M-95 from one of the fallen endoskeletons. Developed by Skynet exclusively for use with terminators, the rifle was much larger and more powerful than the standard plasma rifles of the resistance. It was a too heavy for most people, but Cameron handled it with ease.
John stayed near the end of the group as Cameron led the soldiers into the entrance. The entered carefully and quietly. The machine felt sorry for the humans entering the base. The air was saturated with the smell of plasma discharge and blood. They heard the sounds of gunfire and screaming deeper in the base.
The hallway lights flickered off. The men and women around Cameron cursed as they switched on their weapon lights. The machine constantly kept an eye on John, watching him as he followed. As they continued, they found more and more bodies. People that had died fighting the machines.
About halfway to the rear of the base, they started to come across destroyed endoskeletons. T-800s were the first to fall to the base defenders; T-888s had heavier plasma protection and were better programmed to engage in close-quarters combat. Cameron signaled the squad to stop and cautiously approached a fallen T-888.
It’s infiltration sheath was burned and torn to shreds by plasma fire. It sat in a corner with multiple plasma burns in it’s face. Cameron couldn’t find any evidence of CPU damage.
Immediately, she stomped on the rifle in it’s hand, crushing it. Before it could get up, Cameron grabbed the terminator by the neck and slammed in onto the ground, facedown. Men and women in her squad pointed their rifles at it. The machine aimed her rifle at the rear of the T-888’s skull and fired.
The purple bolts of plasma reflected off the skull a few times before one found it’s way through the terminator’s CPU port cover. It instantly shutdown and stopped moving. Cameron looked at the soldiers around her.
“John Connor….won’t hold out long…pushed through south….entrance compromised.” It was Perry’s voice. His radio signal went silent.
John looked at Cameron. “We have to move fast.”
Being careful to check every fallen terminator and covering their sides, the group moved at a pace no faster than a steady walk. It took about five minutes to reach Perry’s position. They silently came up behind a group of terminator’s that were engaging him and his soldiers.
Cameron signaled to the soldiers to take cover. They took up positions in the hall, covered by metal and concrete supports. One terminator turned around just as Cameron called out to attack.
The hallway lit up in a dazzling display of blue, white and purple plasma fire. Heavily outgunned, the terminator’s fell to the gunfire on both sides. Three soldiers next to Cameron died. The five terminators fell within thirty seconds. The machine hit her rifle on the wall and called out.
“Who?” A voice called back to her.
“Cameron and John.”
Major General Perry’s head peeked over the cover. John ran over to him and Cameron followed.
“Good to see you alive, sir.”
John nodded. “Perry, did any endos make it through here?”
“No, sir. We held this line. But-”
“We lost contact with the south entrance to the TDE. We think they may have been compromised.”
“Damn it. Do you have any TDE techs, Perry?”
“Right here, sir.” A young man stepped forward. Cameron recognized him as one of the junior technicians that worked on the time machine.
John pointed at him. “You’re with us. We may need you.”
The group made their way to the south entrance of the TDE. Perry was right; there were no survivors. Dozens of bodies lay scattered across the halls. The terminators left none alive. Cameron felt the room shake. The time machine was active.
After passing the defensive position of the dead resistance troops, they arrived at the final heavy door leading to the TDE. Scorch marks from plasma fire covered the door. The terminators had shot it repeatedly and then forced it open. John went to the front of the group.
“If it’s metal and it’s not her, shoot it.” John said pointing to Cameron.
“If you’re not sure, shoot it. We take this room back now. Are we clear?”
Everyone in the group quietly acknowledged John. He moved to enter the room but Cameron stopped him.
“Let me go first, so I can protect you.” John nodded.
Cameron aimed her rifle and slowly stepped through the door. Emergency lighting only provided a little illumination in the hallway. John came behind Cameron and dozens of troops followed.
The first terminator holding a defensive position in the hallway was completely overpowered by the soldiers. Hundreds of plasma bolts cut the machine down in mere seconds. They approached the entry point to the TDE without any other resistance. The whole area started to shake again. Before John could say anything, Cameron charged into the room.
There were five terminators in the room. One, had an infiltration sheath and was standing on the platform, waiting for it to activate. Cameron tried to shoot it, but was blocked by another T-888. She fired into the machine’s eyes, temporarily blinding it.
Cameron was hit in the hand and leg. As she returned fire, John and a dozen soldiers entered the room, guns blazing. The machine was impressed with John’s shooting skills; he was a superb shot with a plasma rifle, hitting the terminators in the eyes like she did.
The terminator on the TDE platform vanished but the gunfight continued. Dozens more soldiers flowed into the room. The terminators had trouble picking individual targets so they instead focused their firepower on the entrances. When the last terminator was destroyed, 35 people had been killed in the firefight.
Cameron ran over to John. “Are you okay?”
John nodded. “Secure the area, and let the techs get to the TDE!” he called out to the crowd.
The majority of the soldiers went to the exits and set up positions. Several technicians furiously worked on the computers surrounding the equipment.
“How many got through?”
The technician looked at the data and readouts on the computer.
“Ah, Jesus…uh….at least a dozen.”
“Yeah, with these readouts…and look how much as reserves are drained…I’d say a dozen. Look at all these power spikes…”
“You’re saying there are twelve terminators walking in the past?”
The technician nodded.
“Doing what?” John asked.
“Trying to undo what you’ve done. Trying to ensure Skynet’s success in the war.” Cameron replied.
“So what do we do?”
Cameron went close to John and looked him in the eye. “You know what I have to do.”
John shook his head. “No. There’s gotta be some other way.”
“Sir.” the technician interrupted.
“We’ve got enough juice to send one person back but the power reserve is failing. We need to act quick.”
John ran his hands through his hair. “Where did all these terminators go?”
“All we’ve got is the programmed destination for the last one. 1999.”
John looked at Cameron. “2007 was when Skynet really got it’s start. Why 1999?”
“It’s after you, John. It’s going to try to kill you and I need to be there to protect you. When you‘re safe, I‘ll stop the others.”
John looked back at the technician. “How much time do we have?”
The man looked at the screen. “Five minutes.”
John looked to Perry. “Get me a first aid kit.”
John used military skin-bonder to close the openings Cameron had in her flesh. Basically a non-toxic superglue, it sealed her wounds fairly easily. Tears began to build in the machine’s eyes. It felt like it was going to be the last time her human companion would touch her skin.
She tried to remain strong for John. The machine didn’t want to make it any harder for him, but she had difficulty controlling herself. John closed the last wound on her cheek. He wiped her tears away with a smile; there were tears in his eyes as well.
“Cameron, I don’t think I’ll be ready.”
“What do you mean?”
“Fifteen year old me. I don’t think you should tell me everything. Not until I’m ready…”
John was referring to their relationship and Cameron’s ability to feel emotions. Cameron didn’t want to lie or keep anything from him in the past, but she respected his decision.
“How will I know when you’re ready?”
“You’ll know…” he said embracing the machine.
“I’m gonna miss you…”
Cameron hugged him back and kissed him. “I love you, John. I always will.”
“I’ll always love you, Cameron. No matter what happens.”
They separated. “Remember that.” he said.
The technician called out to them. “Thirty seconds!”
The TDE began to shake. The loud droning of the equipment reverberated throughout the room. Cameron and John walked hand in hand, up to the platform. Perry joined them. He saluted Cameron.
“Miss Phillips. It’s been an honor.”
Cameron saluted back and shook his hand. Perry smiled and stepped off the platform. Cameron and John hugged and kissed one final time. Ten seconds before the jump, they released each other. John stepped back, off of the platform. Cameron could barely hear him.
“I love you.”
“I love you.” she replied.
White light surrounded the machine. Warnings and information flooded her vision and roaring of the TDE became deafening. Cameron’s last sight was of John’s kind smile.
Author's Note: This isn't the last chapter. Stay tuned for one more!
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